Family and caregivers

Caring for a loved one with PKD can be a stressful change. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and unable to cope. As a caregiver, you may experience extremely high levels of stress that can cause emotional and physical symptoms such as:

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Loss of energy and feeling tired
  • Reduced resistance to infection
  • Problems concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Backaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Stomachaches

All of these symptoms are normal but avoidable.

Caring for yourself while caring for others is critical. Here are some tips to help you stay physically and emotionally healthy as you support your loved one.

  • Know that you are “at-risk” for burnout and pay attention to signs and symptoms of stress.
  • Recognize the ways in which your body shows you that you are stressed. Some signs of stress might include: tightness in your shoulders, backaches and headaches. 
  • Practice setting limits and alleviate the stress you can control.
  • Maintain a healthy diet, stay physically active and try to get enough sleep for your own physical, mental and emotional well-being. Caregivers are often aware of the importance of these things for others, but sometimes neglect to these for themselves.
  • Set practical goals for how you spend your time. Don’t allow time to become an enemy.
  • Cultivate a personal support system. A close personal friend can be a real lifesaver when it comes to managing stress and preventing burnout.