“I have what? Heart disease? How could that be?” James asked the cardiologist. This new diagnosis is not what James wanted to hear. He was in his late 60s and gave up smoking 25 years ago. Shaking his head, he listened as the doctor explained more about the diagnosis.

James was suffering from Coronary Artery Disease, often called CAD, due to plaque buildup in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Over 20 million Americans have CAD, and it is the cause of 1 in 5 deaths in the US. James has had symptoms called angina, back discomfort, dizziness and sweating, a squeezing type feeling. He knew this meant that his heart was not getting enough oxygen for the work it was doing.

The good news is that James would not require surgery but would need to monitor a few things and take medications. Living alone and near his only daughter, Julie, he will have support as he adjusts to his recent diagnosis.
James told his daughter about the new diagnosis, and they talked about how things would change for him. He was confident that it shouldn’t be a problem for him but Julie wonders if he is being realistic. He has a small house in town, no stairs, and a small yard, but it does require maintenance. Would he be able to keep it up?

Julie wanted to help. She was able to set up his medications in a med minder because it was very important that he took the medications and didn’t miss any. His diet and exercise would need to be tracked so that his doctors could review and help him make decisions that worked for his lifestyle. Julie would need to be attentive to her dad’s home life because exertion can be a trigger for symptoms of heart attack or stroke. He also needed to have nitro with him at all times in the event he isn’t recovering from chest pain.

James was very motivated to do all the right things. He decided to reach out to us to get the help of a care manager because he didn’t want Julie to be overwhelmed with helping him. He knew he could use additional assistance with light housekeeping and errands. More importantly he needed someone to help him get his affairs in order. A certified care manager has expertise in a variety of services for seniors and knows how to find the right level of help needed. We watch for changes in their care needs and help review their long term plans to make sure that their wishes are met for their ongoing care. James knew that he wanted to stay at home as long as possible but he also knew that if it became too difficult to live alone that he didn’t want to be a burden to Julie and he preferred to find an assisted living option. We were able to make plans with him and maintain our home visits to monitor his care.

With an immediate need to take care of himself by following the doctor’s orders, accepting help from his daughter, and allowing a care manager to see him through some stressful life planning, he was on a positive and healthy track to enjoying his life. If you or a loved one are facing any care challenges, please give us a call at 850-894-6720 or email us at info@gcmsolutions.net. We will bring our experience to provide guidance regarding your options.