Throughout your experience as a family caregiver, you are going to encounter a variety of potentially challenging situations. As your parent gets older, they are more likely to develop health complications and illnesses that put their wellbeing at risk. This means that they are a likely to face many different tests and evaluations to determine the extent of these conditions and how they may need to handle them in the best way possible. If they are dealing with heart issues, one test that your parent is likely to need is a stress test.
A stress test is an evaluation designed to show the doctor how well your parent's heart handles stress, or the workload that is placed upon it at any given time. As your parent's body works harder, it needs more energy and more blood flow. The tests demonstrates if there is an issue with this blood flow, and areas of the heart that may not be operating as effectively as it should be. This enables the medical team to make decisions regarding their ongoing care and treatment.
While a stress test is a common test for a wide range of health complications, including congestive heart failure, heart attacks, or heart disease, the thought of having to take one can be unnerving for your loved one. Taking the time to help prepare them for this test can make them feel more at ease and confident about their ability to get through the test in the best way possible.
Use these tips to help you prepare your aging parent for a stress test:
Explain it to them. It is not uncommon for elderly adults to feel as though they are just being "pushed around" or that their medical team is choosing random tests and treatments for them. This can be overwhelming and upsetting. Explaining the need for this test and the goal of the doctor can help your parent feel more willing to go along with the test and like a cooperative element of their care rather than a bystander.
Tell them what to expect. Help your parent understand what will happen during the test. Explain that they will walk on a treadmill with equipment attached to their body. The treadmill will tilt to create more stress and the speed will gradually increase. Ensure they understand that they can stop whenever they need to and will not be pushed too hard during the test.
Know the guidelines. In the days leading up to the test, go over the guidelines with your loved one again. The doctor will let them know if they need to not eat or drink prior to the test, any foods or beverages to avoid, or other steps that they should take to prepare themselves to get the most out of the test.
Managing heart disease of any kind is a stressful and challenging experience. Senior care can help you to feel confident your aging parent is getting the level of care, support, and assistance that they need according to their specific challenges and limitations. A senior home care services provider can create a personalized approach to their care that will ensure your parent not only stays as healthy, strong, and safe as possible, but also does as much for themselves as possible and stays active and engaged. This can include helping them to make healthy choices for what they eat, their physical activities, and compliance with their treatment guidelines for the highest quality of life possible.