Caring for Your Senior Parent: Supporting a Senior Parent Through Dialysis

Dialysis is a necessary part of life for many seniors, and supporting them through this process can be challenging for their adult children and other loved ones. There are five key ways in which the adult child of a senior undergoing dialysis can be consistently supportive of his mother or father:

  • Be present during dialysis
  • Inform yourself about your parent’s condition
  • Create a support network
  • Help keep your senior parent active
  • Assist with diet management

Be Present During Dialysis Appointments (When Possible)

Showing up for your parent’s dialysis appointments is an expression of love and a reminder that their health and well-being matter to you. Even if you cannot physically accompany them, try to call them during the session or send them an encouraging text message before their appointment. Your presence and assurance will be greatly appreciated.

Inform Yourself About Your Parent’s Condition

Knowing about your parent’s condition, including any side effects from dialysis or medications prescribed, can help you decide how best to provide caregiving services during and after treatment. Familiarize yourself with general information related to kidney disease and read up on the latest developments in the field so that you can stay informed and offer assistance should any complications arise. We will provide more information regarding dialysis later in this article for your benefit.

Create a Support Network

Seniors going through dialysis often require extra support beyond just family members, so rally your family and friends together to create a strong network of people who can all pitch in to help when needed. From providing transportation services or moral support when things get rough, having a group of close confidantes will be incredibly beneficial for you and your senior parent throughout this journey.

Help Keep Your Senior Parent Active

Exercise has numerous benefits for seniors with kidney problems, and regular physical activity helps maintain muscle strength while reducing stress levels. If it’s difficult for your parent to find time outside of their appointments to exercise (or simply if they don’t want to do it alone), then offer to go along by taking walks together or doing light stretching at home – even just 10 minutes each day goes a long way.

Assist With Diet Management

Proper nutrition is especially vital for those undergoing dialysis, as certain foods may worsen symptoms or interact negatively with treatment drugs. You can help to ensure that your parent sticks close to their diet plan as prescribed by their doctor. It might be helpful for you to grocery shop together so that they can pick out healthier options within each food group while avoiding anything that could risk further complications.

Overview of the Dialysis Process

Dialysis is a process that involves the use of a special machine to filter the blood of an individual and remove excess toxins. The machine replaces some of the body’s natural filtration functions by using two types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal.

Hemodialysis is a type of dialysis that uses a special machine called a dialyzer to filter waste products from the blood. During hemodialysis, blood is drawn from an artery into the dialyzer and filtered before being returned to the body through a vein. This process usually takes about four hours, three days a week.

Peritoneal dialysis is another form that uses the peritoneal membrane (a thin layer that lines the abdomen) as a natural filter for removing toxins from the bloodstream. In this procedure, sterile fluid is placed inside a patient’s abdomen and left for several hours before being drained out again, along with any toxins it has picked up from circulation around in their body. This type of dialysis can be done at home or in-house at clinics around four or five times a day.

Potential Risks Associated With Dialysis and Your Senior Parent

There are several risks associated with dialysis that you need to understand. These include:

  • Infection
  • Low blood pressure
  • Allergic reactions


One of the most serious risks associated with dialysis is infection. The procedure involves inserting a catheter into the patient’s body and connecting it to the dialysis machine, which makes them vulnerable to bacteria entering their bloodstream. To help reduce the risk of infection, patients should practice good hygiene techniques, such as washing their hands before and after treatments and avoiding contact with anyone sick or with an active infection. It is also important for the clinic staff to ensure proper sterilization procedures are followed for both the machines and any equipment used during treatment.

Low Blood Pressure

Another common risk associated with dialysis is low blood pressure during or immediately following treatments. This can cause dizziness and even fainting if clinic staff does not manage this properly before starting the treatment session. Low blood pressure can also be caused by dehydration, which can occur when too much fluid is removed from the body during dialysis, known as ultrafiltration. To help reduce the risk of low blood pressure while undergoing dialysis, patients should be sure they remain well hydrated before and after their sessions and discuss their salt intake with their doctor or dietitian before beginning treatment sessions to avoid any electrolyte imbalances that could lead to low blood pressure episodes during treatments.

Allergic Reactions

In rare cases, patients may experience an allergic reaction due to materials used during dialysis. These can include catheters or dyes used for certain tests prescribed by doctors before beginning dialysis treatments. Additionally, some people may have sensitivities or allergies to certain chemicals used in cleaning solutions or disinfectants used on equipment at clinics which could also cause reactions. Patients should inform clinic staff about any allergies they may have so that precautions can be taken.

There is no cure yet for kidney failure. However, having regular checkups with a doctor and following all instructions regarding diet and medication can reduce the risk of kidney failure. In addition, lifestyle changes can also be tremendously beneficial in lowering the risk of kidney disease and kidney failure.