Heart Health

06 January 2009

The spouse: beware of over-protectiveness

Being over-protective after your partner’s heart attack could be a serious error. You should support him or her in doing more each day without taking over his or her role.

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Being over-protective after your partner’s heart attack could be a serious error. You should support him or her in doing more each day without taking over his or her role.

Communication should be a vital part of your relationship and you should discuss what you expect from each other. Your job is to help the patient in becoming more mobile, taking more interest in his or her health, and tackling risk factors.

Avoid being over-protective by:

  • Not doing everything yourself. If your partner is afraid of doing something that you know would not be detrimental to his or her health, try to boost his or her self-confidence in dealing with it.
  • Making deals with your partner: “If you do your exercise, I would prepare the supper.” This encourages a speedy recovery.
  • Contacting your doctor or rehabilitation nurse. Discuss any worries with your doctor. Gain confidence by being informed.
  • Confiding in friends. If you are the only one worrying, your friends can help you in overcoming your fears.
  • Not being the full-time nurse. Find other hobbies to keep busy.
  • Taking a break. Invite friends or family to come and stay if you can’t get away.
  • Being determined. Don’t let the illness rule your life. Try to lead a normal life.

Source: “Heart attack: what now?” produced by Parke-Davis, courtesy of the Heart Foundation of South Africa.

- (Updated June 2008)

 

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