Two out of every five cardiac surgeries in the U.S. were in people aged 70 or older. While statistics favor your dad being in the right age group for heart surgery, that’s not helping ease your worries. What happens now?
You’re about to take on the role of family caregiver. You’re taking time off work to help your dad while he recuperates. There’s a lot you need to do. What are his needs after heart surgery? Have you considered the many benefits of post-hospital care following heart surgery? Here are a few things to consider.
Your dad is going to be on medications that help his heart. He cannot miss a dose. He may be taking antidepressants to avoid becoming depressed. Make sure he takes them on time and as instructed.
He’ll have dishes to wash, counters to wipe down, and other surfaces to sanitize. His healing will go best if his home is clean and sanitized. If he has a dishwasher, make sure it’s run every couple of days to prevent odors or mildew from building up.
Your dad isn’t likely to be cleared to drive for several months. During that time, he needs rides to his weekly physical therapy appointments. He’s going to need someone to drive him to his favorite grocery store, pharmacy, and other area businesses.
Once a week, his sheets need to be changed. He needs to have someone available to do the laundry, vacuum, and dust. If he has hardwood or vinyl plank flooring, they need to be dust mopped.
His Dietary Needs Will Change
Most importantly, your dad’s diet is likely going to need adjusting. Ask his cardiologist for a referral to work with a dietitian. You need to know what he should and shouldn’t have and get an idea of the best meal plans for heart health.
Much of your dad’s dietary needs will involve avoiding sodium, saturated fat, and sugar. Whole grains, lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, and dairy are essential. If he’s working with a dietitian, you’ll learn a lot about how to plan and portion the foods he needs the most.
You also want to make sure he’s drinking plenty of water and skipping alcoholic beverages and high-sugar drinks. Soda and sweet tea are not likely to be recommended, so your dad will need to get used to unsweetened beverages.
Is It Too Much?
Many family members believe they can help, but the demands for care become too much to balance with children, a job, and their own home to maintain. Don’t take on more than you can handle. If you burn out, you’re of no use to your dad.
Look into post-hospital care services like meal preparation, housekeeping, transportation, and personal care. Your dad’s care aide can take care of the things he needs and make sure his daily routines are maintained. He even has post-hospital care aides to remind him when to take his medications, which is the most important aspect of his recovery.
Fresh Perspective Home Care is a trusted non-medical senior home care provider in Kalamazoo, Portage, Mattawan, Richland, Vicksburg, Schoolcraft, Three Rivers, Gull Lake, Yorkville and Otsego, Michigan.