When a loved one has kidney disease, you might not know how to help. You might feel frustrated that you can’t make your loved one better. Or you might feel stressed about fulfilling your other day-to-day obligations while caring for your loved one. You’re not alone.
The American Kidney Fund is here to help you and your loved one feel empowered to manage kidney disease.
Be a strong and independent voice for 31 million Americans living with kidney disease. Help increase awareness of kidney disease and advocate for policies on their behalf.
Take Care of Yourself
Being a caregiver can feel like a round-the-clock job. But to be a good caregiver, you must also take care of yourself. Take some time each day to do something for yourself, whether it’s calling a friend, taking a rest, or getting out of the house for a walk. If you need a break, but your loved one can’t be alone, ask for help. See if a friend or family member can sit with your loved one for a short time, while you’re taking a break. Know that in taking care of yourself, you’re also taking care of your loved one.
Kidney Disease and Your Diet
Problems with vitamins and minerals are very common among kidney patients. You can learn how to best manage a loved one’s diet.
Get Involved with Others
As a caregiver, you might sometimes feel overwhelmed, scared, or sad. Your friends and family may do their best to understand how you’re feeling, but it can be difficult for them to understand if they’ve never been through what you’re going through. But you are not alone. There are many caregivers just like you. Consider joining a support group for caregivers. The people in your support group are likely going through something very similar to what you’re going through. It can be very helpful to talk with others about your common experiences, thoughts, and feelings. If you don’t know how to find a support group in your area, talk to your loved one’s social worker.
Communication is key. Dealing with a chronic disease is difficult for everyone involved. Your daily routines are not what they used to be, and your new schedules can be hard to get used to. But you can make it easier for yourself and others by communicating your needs. Keep the lines of communication open between you and your loved one, doctors, friends, and family. Have open discussions with one another about how things are going, how you’re feeling, and how you can make things easier for one another. Staying in touch with one another can help all of you feel more supported.