When your elderly loved one first gets a diagnosis of kidney disease it can be a scary time for the family. You may be wondering if their kidneys are shutting down, will they need dialysis, how will this affect their daily life, will they need extra help, what needs to be done or how will everyone handle this? There might be a lot of questions in your mind. The best place to start is knowing clearly what the doctor’s instructions are.
What is the function of the kidneys?
Most people have two kidneys. They are approximately the size of a person’s fist and are shaped like a kidney bean. Located in the center of the back on each side of the spine and just below the rib cage, kidneys are essential for filtering your blood. They remove excess waste and extra water. This goes out of the body as urine. They make hormones for the body and help control blood pressure. When kidneys are damaged or not functioning fully, wastes will start to build up in the body.
The efficiency of kidney filtration can decline with age and as a result of taking certain medications. Kidney disease can be caused by high blood pressure or diabetes. Having a family history of kidney failure also increases the risk.
Caregiving for a loved one with kidney disease
First of all, make sure your elder is able and willing to follow all the instructions of her doctor. She must take all her medications in the right dosages and at the right times, as well as follow her dietary restrictions and fluid intake guidelines. You may need to assess her ability to follow the treatment plan. If you are in doubt, you may need the help of an elderly home care attendant so there is someone to give her medication reminders. If the kidney disease is in more advanced stages, you might consider elderly health care.
An agency professional assessor can come and meet with you and your loved one to determine the level of care that would work the best for your loved one.
Secondly, make sure you know of all the resources you are entitled to use for your loved one’s care. You can get more information from the Administration on Aging http://www.aoa.gov/. There is also some helpful information at the Family Caregivers Online site. For assisting loved ones in need, try www.kidney.lotsahwlpinghands.com.
Maintaining kidney health
There are five principles that are recommended for everyone to follow especially those with diabetes in order to prevent and also treat kidney problems:
- Keep glucose levels under 7% A1C
- Aim for a blood pressure of 130/80
- No smoking cigarettes
- Keep LDL lipid percentages under control (<100mgt/dl) and good cholesterol – HDL levels – >50mg/dl
- For those with signs of diabetic kidney disease, blood pressure lowering medications can effectively protect the kidneys from further damage.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring elder care services near Anderson SC, contact Heart of the Carolinas Home Care at 864-991-3116.
Providing Home Care Services in Greenville, Simpsonville, Greer, Anderson, Spartanburg, Mauldin, Seneca, Laurens,Charleston, Columbia and the surrounding areas.