When someone close to you experiences a heart attack, it’s natural to feel upset and overwhelmed. You’ve just been through something very frightening, and you’re likely anxious that it will happen again, and fear losing the person you love. Seeking help for yourself is key if you’re struggling during this time, and medical advice can often help you to feel calmer and more capable. There are certain steps you can take to help support your partner through this process, allowing you both to move forward with confidence.
- Be first aid aware at home. Sometimes, having first aid tools ready at home in case a heart problem should strike again can help you to feel more prepared for any problem that could arise. You should, of course, call an ambulance if your partner has any signs of a heart attack or heart problems again, but you can also learn to use certain tools at home while you wait for the professionals. Seeking out defibrillator suppliers can allow you to get life-saving equipment for your home, and learning first aid processes like CPR can also be extremely valuable in an emergency.
- Make lifestyle changes together. After a heart attack, your partner may feel motivated to start making certain lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of health problems in the future. This is a great goal, and one that will be easier for them to achieve if you work together as a team. If they want to start exercising more, join them for walks outside or get a gym membership together. If healthy eating is on the table, support them by helping to find nutritious recipes and cooking with them. It’s always easier to make big changes when the people around you are on board, too.
- Talk to the doctor together. If you both understand exactly what happened during the heart attack, and know what the health ramifications involve, the process of healing after a heart attack could be less stressful. If your partner agrees, try to join them at doctor’s appointments so that you can better understand their condition. Make a list of questions beforehand that you want answered, and take notes throughout the appointment so that you can remember what was said.
- Reach out for help. A heart attack affects the whole family. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re feeling anxious or depressed. Talk to friends and loved ones, reach out to spiritual leaders, or seek professional therapy if your emotions feel overwhelming. There’s no shame in needing support, and such a life-changing event often naturally results in intense emotional shifts. Try not to completely neglect yourself in favour of looking after your partner – you need to be healthy too, both mentally and physically.
- Know what emotional changes may take place for your partner. According to the American Heart Association, as many as one in three heart attack survivors report feeling depressed after the event. This isn’t surprising – a heart attack or heart surgery is certainly a scary occurrence, so some emotional upheaval is to be expected. Be willing to support your partner through any feelings of depression, anxiety or guilt that might occur, and make it clear that you’re there for them to talk it through whenever they need you.