Caregiver burnout

Kidney disease can be quite taxing for an individual. It is not a short term thing. It is often something you have to live with life-long. Yes, you often have years of peace but it often comes back in some form or another.

This can also take its toll on caregivers, the people around the individual affected by the kidney disease. The serious nature of the disease makes the patient the center of the world around him or her. The entire family's life often revolves around the patient and the disease.

There are surgeries. There are doctor visits. There are hospital stays. There could very well be dialysis which is often a thrice a week thing which takes up half the day. Week after week.

In all this, often the primary caregiver undergoes tremendous stress and frustration. Worse, this is rarely recognized and addressed. The patient occupies centerstage and there is no bandwidth in anybody's mind (including the caregiver's) to recognize that there are problems elsewhere as well.

This is a genuine problem. There are simple solutions however. They may not address the problem entirely. They can help alleviate the problem partially though. And this may be a big relief in itself.

We, the people with kidney disease must realize that our problem affects others too. Most definitely, we are affected the most. No denying that. However, there is a definite effect on our families too. We must be sensitive to this. A simple word of gratitude for them can make them feel much better. Also, we must try to become as independent as possible. Not only will we feel stronger, but this will also reduce the things our families have to do for us.

Primary caregivers must learn to take some time off from the patients and the disease. They must do the things they like to do, away from the patient, without feeling guilty. This will help not only the caregiver but the patient too.

These are little things that make a big difference. Both the patient and the caregiver must appreciate this problem and make a conscious effort to make sure that kidney disease does not take over their lives.