Resources for the Caregiver Community

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: March 2024

Being a caregiver for someone with cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a demanding role. Understanding the challenges and having access to helpful tools can make a big difference in your caregiving journey. Here, you will find resources and tools you can use to provide the best care possible for your loved one with heart disease.

Assess the patient’s needs

When you are beginning a caregiving journey, it helps to first understand your loved one’s needs. Begin by understanding their health condition, daily routines, and any limitations they face, like mobility issues or diet restrictions.1

Communicate with their healthcare team to stay informed about their treatment plan and any changes in diagnosis. Together, you can create a care plan that covers the physical, emotional, and practical aspects of caregiving.1

This plan should include:1

  • Medicine schedules
  • Dietary requirements
  • Strategies for managing your loved one’s stress and emotions

Try to be as flexible as possible, since there will be things that you cannot control. Reassess and adjust the plan as needed. Make sure it evolves with your and your loved one's changing needs and circumstances.1

The importance of clear communication

When caring for someone with a chronic condition like heart disease, clear and effective communication is crucial. Start by actively listening to your loved one, learning their needs, and respecting their preferences.1,2

Use open-ended questions to encourage conversation. Help them feel comfortable sharing their concerns. Keep a notebook to jot down medicine schedules, symptoms, and appointments. Having everything in one place can help you stay organized and informed.1,2

Navigating the healthcare system

Understanding the complex healthcare system can be overwhelming. But there are resources to guide you.1

Establish open communication with your loved one's healthcare team. Make sure to ask them any questions you have about treatment plans, medicines, and potential side effects. You can also use online platforms like MyChart or patient portals to access medical records, appointment details, and messages from providers.1

Take care of your own mental health

Caring for someone with CVD can take an emotional toll on you. It is essential to prioritize your mental well-being. Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist who understands the challenges of caregiving.3

Joining a support group for heart disease caregivers can provide a sense of community. Local hospitals, community centers, and online platforms like Cardiovascular-Disease.net offer spaces to connect with others facing similar challenges. Sharing experiences, tips, and coping strategies can be both comforting and empowering.3

Websites and organizations that provide tools for caregivers

Many organizations offer practical tools and resources specifically designed for caregivers. The following resources can help you navigate daily tasks, manage stress, and plan for the future:1,4-7

  • AARP's Caregiving Resource Line – You can call 1-877-333-5885 for caregiving resources, information, or advice. This service is available Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 8 PM ET.
  • The Family Caregiver Alliance’s Family Care Navigator – Offers information on caregiving support and services across the country.
  • Caregiver Action Network and Well Spouse Association – Provides resources and forums where caregivers can share their experiences and find emotional support.
  • Meals on Wheels – Meal delivery service that brings a healthy meal directly to your home.
  • Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) – Provides transit services, home assistance, meal delivery, and more. Find your local AAA by visiting Eldercare.gov or calling 1-800-677-1116.
  • Respite care – Provides much-needed breaks for caregivers who give continuous care. Check your local AAA for volunteer respite workers in your area. Or, you can contact the National Volunteer Caregiving Network.
  • Home care – Provides a wide range of medical and non-medical services in the home. Contact your local AAA, hospital, or public health department for home care options that are available in your area.

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of available caregiver resources! Reach out to your loved one’s healthcare team for local resources that can give you the support you need.

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