In addition to giving your partner or relative practical support in managing their heart failure, providing emotional support to them is also extremely important as they will be going through many different and challenging feelings.
As a caregiver you may provide emotional support by:
- reassuring your partner or relative that change takes time. It's natural for people to have trouble changing lifelong habits. Your partner or relative will appreciate it if you try and listen to their concerns and stay positive, even if they don't completely follow the doctor's recommendations immediately. Offer encouragement and praise for any good new habits and progress and don't be judgemental when your partner or relative occasionally slips into old habits. Be supportive to help them get back on track again.
- suggesting that your partner or relative join a support group for people with heart failure, where they can get support from people in a similar situation. You might like to go to the group with them, but the experience is likely to be most beneficial if it is their decision to go.
- understanding that there may be some loss of physical intimacy between you initially as things settle down. The diagnosis of heart failure often means stopping or limiting sexual activity until the condition is under control.
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