News release from the American Heart Association:
American Heart Association offers resource for navigating the recovery journey
Support network virtual community dedicated to serving heart disease and stroke survivors and their caregivers
(November 17, 2015) – Caregiving can be a 24-7 commitment â€” and it’s one of the toughest jobs around. Each November, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recognizes National Family Caregivers Month to acknowledge the millions of family caregivers who are caring for their loved ones with a chronic disease.
National Family Caregivers Month also recognizes that caregivers have to take care of themselves to take care of their loved ones, despite the many roles they play. Avoiding burnout and staying refreshed may not be top of mind, but they’re some of the things that matter most.
“At the American Heart Association we know that recovering from a stroke or cardiac event can impact survivors, caregivers, family and friends. That’s why we developed the Support Network, a virtual community dedicated to serving heart disease and stroke survivors and their caregivers” said, Tiffany France, American Heart Association Corporate Events Director.
Caring for a loved one can be rewarding. But it’s also among life’s most challenging roles. It can be stressful and uncertain when you’re suddenly thrust into the role of caregiver. To succeed, you must also take care of your needs.
Through the free support network, our goal is to improve the knowledge, healthy behaviors and quality of life for heart and stroke survivors, caregivers and family. The Support Network gives the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association the bandwidth to touch so many more people who need emotional support.
Support Network members can:
- Start or join a conversation. Get and give support from people who understand.
- Join a group â€” or start your own! Groups are a great way to find others with common conditions and experiences.
- Know that our online community is dedicated to serving you. It’s for you or someone you care about that’s dealing with a heart or stroke issue.
- Meet others like you. Share your story. Find and give support.
In addition to the Support Network here are some tips for caregivers to stay refreshed:
- Take a 10- or 15-minute walk a couple of times a day, even if it’s just around the yard.
- Choose a quiet space in the house where you can go take a few deep breaths, read a book, pray, meditate, listen to music, sing, write in your journal, chat with a friend on the phone or just rest quietly for a few minutes.
- Schedule timeouts. Choose a time when your loved one is typically sleeping, eating, watching a TV program or seems to be at their best during the day. They will get accustomed to your little timeouts after a while and stop resenting your privacy and interrupting you.
- Insist on these moments in a gentle way and reward your loved one when you’ve refreshed yourself.
- Download Caregiver Resources guide.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 260-578-0222.