Managing diabetes is a daily challenge at any age, but for senior diabetics, there’s an increased risk for specific complications, according to the American Diabetes Association. The risks faced by ignoring diabetes can be very serious: heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetic coma, just to name a few.
Here are some tips to help alleviate the stress of diabetic care (also check out our Blog Post from March 19, 2012 for additional information):
First, identify care barriers. Barriers to optimal diabetic care management include:
Requiring more information/education on proper diabetic care
Avoiding situations that could disrupt a care schedule, whether that’s insulin injections or diet
Excuses to overcome regarding getting more exercise
Eating patterns that may be driven by emotions rather than hunger or healthy food choices
Depression or other emotional concerns
Consider accepting some assistance. Family, friends and coworkers typically provide a great shoulder to lean on. Just let them know what is helpful and what to watch for in case symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) come on. And as mentioned in this month’s previous blog post, home caregivers trained in diabetic care are also excellent resources for care support and encouragement.
Reframe care into easily recognizable benefits. It’s true that proper care helps prevent diabetic complications. But, if the complications are not enough to keep you or a loved one on track, consider other benefits that would better influence quality care. For example, proper care could result in improved agility and the ability to more easily enjoy hobbies and interests.
Stick to a care plan. Creating a daily routine will help manage care. And don’t forget to consider how that plan will be affected if there are disruptions to the regular schedule.
Think positively. Negative self-talk leads to depression and a feeling of helplessness, whereas staying upbeat can be motivational and help create solutions. Instead of thinking, “I’ll never be able to manage my diabetes—I might as well plan on having some health problems,” try thinking, “I didn’t pay enough attention to my portion sizes at dinner; that's why my blood sugar is high. I need to think ahead and keep portion sizes in line with my meal plan, or cover with extra insulin if I eat more than I intended.”
If you or your loved one could use some additional assistance at home in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and normal activities of daily living, call us for more information on how our experienced, compassionate caregivers can help you or your elderly loved one better manage his or her diabetic care. In the Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls or Hayden areas, call (208) 777-0308; in the Sandpoint, Bonners Ferry or Priest River areas, call (208) 263-7889; or in the Kellogg, Wallace or Pinehurst areas, call (208) 784-1505.