It’s Heart Month and there are many resources in the area to help people who are caring for someone with heart disease.
There can be challenges for spouses, children, parents, siblings and friends, who often are unsure how to support someone dealing with heart issues.
Sarah Wilmowski, a structural heart nurse navigator at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital at 1930 E. Thomas Road, recommends caregivers provide love and support to their family member or friend with heart disease. However, instead of giving the person with heart disease advice about what to eat or how often to exercise, they should find other ways to assist them. Some things they can do are to accompany the heart patient to doctors’ appointments and to help them research physicians.
Wilmowski also urges caregivers to get help from the many support groups in the state. The Arizona Caregiver Coalition has a resource line and information on its website at azcaregiver.org, where you can search for support groups. The Area Agency on Aging Region One, Incorporated, lists various support groups at aaaphx.org/program-services/family-caregiver-support-program. Mended Hearts, another organization that offers support groups for caregivers of loved ones with heart problems, offers information at mendedhearts.org. The non-profit organization Duet also provides support groups for family caregivers; to find one near you, visit duetaz.org.
Hospitals also provide resources for heart patients and their caregivers, as do churches.
Caregivers often forget to take care of themselves but it is important they give themselves permission to leave work early, allow a friend to bring dinner over or hire a laundry service to ease their burdens.