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Blog Feature

By: Marissa Salvesen on February 16th, 2016

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Cardiac Rehab – It’s a Life Saver!

Aging & Caregiving

cardiac rehabIf you or someone you love has ever had a heart attack, it can be quite a frightening experience. But did you know that after having a heart attack, there is a program designed to help get you back to a happy, healthy lifestyle and prevent a future heart attack?  Cardiac Rehabilitation is a program that provides not only safe, monitored exercise, but also education on health and wellness topics such as nutrition, stress reduction, medication, exercise principles and more. Wondering if your aging loved one could benefit from a program like this? Read on to learn more about how cardiac rehab can be a real life saver!

Who Can Benefit

Doctors often prescribe Cardiac Rehab for people who have had a heart attack or bypass surgery. But people with many types of heart or blood vessel disease can benefit from cardiac rehab. (http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/tc/cardiac-rehabilitation-topic-overview) The goal of most Cardiac Rehab programs is to help individuals regain confidence after a heart attack, heart failure, surgery, or other heart problem. For many individuals and especially older adults, it can be fear-provoking to think about returning to normal activities, especially exercise, after these events.

Most participants who join a program attend Cardiac Rehab for 36 sessions.  Each session is approximately 90 minutes long and includes exercise, education, and counseling. 

Camaraderie Abounds!

Individuals who participate in Cardiac Rehab programs often find that they not only learn about how to stay active and healthy, but they also develop long-lasting relationships.  Camaraderie within classes is very common and aids in one’s recovery.  Patients encourage one another and can empathize with those just starting out.  They often say to one another, “Gee, you’re walking really fast on that treadmill.  I have to go so slow!”  The response is usually, “I remember when I first started rehab and I walked slower, too.  I’ve been coming for a couple months now and I have more endurance and stamina and that allows me to go faster!  You’ll get there soon!”  This kind of encouragement is priceless.   

Certified Programs

Cardiac Rehabilitation has been used since the 1980s, but the guidelines for programs have improved over the years.  The American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) offers a certification process to ensure that programs meet their high standards of regulatory guidelines.  For this reason, when choosing a program, be sure the program is AACVPR Certified.  The Connecticut Society for Cardiac Rehabilitation (CSCR) has a website, www.CTCardiacRehab.com that lists programs in Connecticut that are certified.  This website can also answer questions that you or your loved one may have about Cardiac Rehabilitation.

Know anyone?  Perhaps yourself?

Cardiac Rehab has been proven to significantly reduce the risk of having a future heart event, such as a heart attack.  It also provides motivation and support to help people make the necessary lifestyle changes that can reduce the risk and progressions of a future event. Overall, Cardiac Rehab can greatly improve one’s quality of life.  If your aging loved one has had a heart attack, an angioplasty, by-pass surgery, valve repair or replacement, a heart transplant, or suffers from congestive heart failure, suggest they speak to their cardiologist about Cardiac Rehabilitation.  It may help keep him/her healthy for years to come!   

Key Takeaways:

  • Cardiac Rehabilitation programs can provide exercise, education, and counseling.
  • While doctors primarily recommend Cardiac Rehab for those who have undergone a heart attack or bypass surgery, individuals with other types of heart or blood vessel disease may also benefit.
  • The many benefits of Cardiac Rehab include support, accountability, and motivation.
  • Look for a certified Cardiac Rehab program when reviewing rehabilitation options.

Many thanks to guest writer, Eunice A. Lisk, who is the Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Griffin Hospital – Hewitt Pavilion Outpatient Center in Derby, CT. For more information about the Cardiac Rehabilitation program at Griffin Hospital (which is an AACVPR certified program), please call 203.732.7106. Eunice can be reached at elisk@griffinhealth.org.

For more information about Cardiac and Outpatient Rehab options at Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation Center at Wesley Village, please contact The Wellness Center at 203.225.5004 or visit http://www.umh.org/wesley-village/bishop-wicke. Wesley Village is a UMH campus located in Shelton,CT.

Caring for the Heart

About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

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