Managing Frustration for Cargiver as well as Kidney Sufferer

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Providing care for an aging parent, spouse, or loved one with kidney disease can be difficult, especially as they deal with pain, and stress related to their illness. Below are three key steps to care for a person that has been irritable.

1.) Show empathy.

The changes and limitations of caused by kidney disease can be frustrating and difficult to accept, especially in our fast moving society. For many of these individuals, the world may appear abrupt and unkind. Be empathetic, and do not take changes in mood personally, as often times your loved one is not frustrated at you, but instead the situation in which he finds himself.

2.) Be aware of mood changes.

Recognizing patterns to instances of open frustration can assist with prevention. Ask yourself, "Is s/he angry and difficult all the time, or is there an identifiable pattern?" Some people, especially dialysis recipients, can be in extreme amounts of pain or suffer severe exhaustion directly after treatment, enhancing irritability.  If you notice this pattern, encourage the individual to nap and limit visitors and activities after their dialysis session. Make an effort to take part in unassuming, minimal noise activities (reading, watching television on reduced volume, quietly exercising, etc). Also remember that anger is often a sign of depression, which can exacerbate existing health issues and decrease emotional fortitude, so ask your love one about how they feel physically and emotionally. If the issue persists then it is recommended to consult a physician to see if there's an underlying problem.

3.) Be cognizant of the tone and manner in which you verbally communicate.

Do not be patronizing. Your loved one may need your help, but s/he is not a child and should not be treated like one. Without raising your voice, speak clearly and kindly. If you think you have been misunderstood, repeat what you're trying to say in a different way, without eye rolling, shouting or impatience. Especially with people who have chronic illness, be patient, as they may not be willing to express their pain or disabilities, visible frustration may incite undirected anger.  

Managing and offering care to a sick loved one can often be challenging. It is recommended that as a caregiver you find means to alleviate stress. This may include building your spirituality, spending a few hours a week participating in a hobby, running or weight lifting, daily breathing exercises, and more.  If done sustainably, caring for a ill loved one can be very rewarding, developing a closer and more intimate bond.

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