Caring for Someone After a Heart Attack

Man and women sitting at table eating

When a loved one experiences a heart attack, it can become an eye opening and challenging time for any family member or friend. Generally, after a heart attack is suffered, it becomes an adjustment period for everyone involved.

The first step to recover is realizing that the pathway back from a heart attack is a lifelong process. Living in fear of the next incident, instead of taking an active approach to prevention can rob a loved one of their ability to stay active and independent.

Here are a few steps that family and friends can follow to help a love one live an engaged and independent life long after the interruption of a heart attack:

Open Communication

After your loved one has a heart attack it is important to have an open conversation about the incident and the contributing factors addressed by a medical professional. Discuss the steps outlined by your doctor and the goals your loved one might have for recover.

Make sure everyone is clear with their role and how they will help the recovery process.

Work With Doctors

For your loved one to heal well and recover after a heart attack they need to follow doctors’ orders. Work with your loved one and their medical team to see how to track their recovery and condition. Team up with doctors to encourage them on following any exercise programs and nutrition adaptations to their lifestyle.

It is important for your loved one to have all the opinions and voices in their life on the same page. Confusion or disagreement over the best path to recover leads to opportunities to create excuses.


Regular medication can become a part of life after a heart attack. Talk with your loved one and make sure they understand why they need the medication and how taking it will improve their heart health. If there is any confusion about medications it is important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to gain a full understanding on how it works with the body and how to use it.

Heart Rehabilitation

Upon leaving the hospital, your loved one’s health provider will provide detailed instructions on the heart rehab that is necessary for recovery. Encourage your loved one to put full effort into their rehabilitation and assist them by taking them to and from sessions as well. The rehabilitation process supports their heart’s recovery and regaining the strength it needs.

Manage Risk Factors

Risk factors after a heart attack can include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, not managing diabetes, smoking, unhealthy foods and inactivity. Encourage loved ones to make changes to live a healthier lifestyle and get all risk factors under control keep their heart strong.

If you find that your loved one needs extra care recovering after a heart attack, contact Senior Home Companions at 317-251-0441. Our caregivers can work with you and your family to provide support such as transportation to rehab or aftercare session, healthy meal preparation, or more.