What are the key components of healthy aging? Diet, exercise, regular checkups, and avoid addictive habits like smoking are important. Self-care is important, too. Your dad needs to take care of his mental and emotional health.
Even if your dad does all this, there’s no guarantee he won’t develop a chronic health issue. Your dad had a stroke, and now your family is struggling to figure out what comes next. Take time during Healthy Aging Month to talk about the importance of home care, as your dad’s health worsens.
Your Dad’s Needs Change With a Chronic Health Care Diagnosis
After your dad is diagnosed with heart disease, his care needs will change. Diet and exercise needs are one of the biggest areas where he’ll have to adapt. His food choices need to be a bit more careful about how much saturated fat, sodium, and even added sugar are in them.
He’ll need to choose weekly menus that contain lean proteins, many fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy items for the calcium. Legumes are great, as they’re high in fiber, protein, and B vitamins.
Your dad needs enough exercise, but his doctors may advise him against certain activities. It may help him have someone around to drive him to physical therapy appointments or a community pool to swim.
Medications are often part of a care plan when heart disease is diagnosed. His medications need to be taken each day. Some may be required at certain hours or with or without a meal.
He will have plenty of medical checkups and follow-up appointments. It’s also likely that he’s told not to drive for now. He’s going to need someone to drive him, and you may not have the time. A caregiver can accompany him to his appointments, help him schedule additional appointments, and keep you updated.
How Does Home Care Work?
When you arrange home care, you get not one caregiver, but a team of them. Caregivers work in shifts, usually six-hour shifts, but it varies. A caregiver arrives to start the day. Six hours later, the second caregiver arrives for the next six hours.
Every hour is covered. A caregiver is awake and ready to help throughout the day and night. If your dad wakes in the middle of the night and doesn’t feel well, his caregiver is there. If he needs to take medications every four hours, he has a caregiver in the home to tell him when it’s time.
Arrange home care services before your dad comes home from a rehab facility. Have the support team he needs to get through the recovery without putting undue stress on himself. A home care advisor can help you get started.