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Take care of yourself

It is also important to take time for yourself during this time. If you get exhausted and run-down, you won't be much help. And, you'll cause more stress to your partner or friend with heart trouble.


Arrange for others to spend time with the patient so you can get out of the house. You need a break now and then!

  • Eat right. Don't deny this simple need to yourself as you care for the heart patient, or soon you'll run out of energy and won't be much help at all.
  • Get educated. Talk with the health care team, read all provided materials, and ask if there are any videos you can view. Learning all you can will help you feel more in control.
  • Walk or exercise each day with the patient. This will help the patient move into a new routine of daily exercise, and will help lift your spirits, too.
  • Line up family and friends who can help with cleaning, transportation, chores, errands and meals. It's too much for you to do alone.
  • If the patient has had surgery, the hospital may offer a rehabilitation class for family members.
  • Meet with the social worker to learn of community resources that can help you.
  • Go on with your own life. Some days, you may feel guilty for being healthy, for having work to do, for longing for a fun lunch with friends, for leaving the patient home alone. But you need these normal aspects of your life. They will energize you and help you feel less anxious and stressed. It will probably also help the heart patient to see that you have not given up your own life.



Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Helping Your Heart, fourth edition, cvs-ahc-90648

First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 06/01/2007

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts