Diabetes is becoming an increasingly common diagnosis among older adults. Many adults manage it without assistance, but as your parents age, other factors may come into play. Here are some ideas on how you can help your parent manage this disease.
Diabetes is quite prevalent, with 9.1% of the population having the disease. However, a large majority of diabetes cases are undiagnosed, which can lead to significant consequences. This disease is especially common amongst seniors.
Despite how common the disease is, diabetes is nothing to trifle with. It remains the 7th leading cause of death, and can cause a host of complications. Some of the typical medical conditions that accompany it are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney disease, and eye problems.
Here are some of the more common methods of managing diabetes:
- Lowering Carbohydrates. Diabetes patients can help manage their blood sugar levels by consuming a diet low in carbohydrates.
- Coordinating Meals and Medication. As your parent incorporates diabetes medication into their routine, they will likely be given specific instructions on how soon to eat before or after taking the medicine. It’s important to ensure the prescription is followed to get the full benefit of the medication.
- Exercise. Exercise, which must be carefully coordinated with eating and medication schedules, is an important way to improve overall fitness and manage diabetes.
- Insulin. Insulin is the most common medication given to manage diabetes. Your parent should report any issues with Insulin to the doctor right away.
- Avoid Alcohol. Alcohol can aggravate complications associate with diabetes, like nerve damage or eye disease in diabetic patients. If your parent’s doctor approves alcohol on occasion, your parent will want to choose lower-carbohydrate versions and make sure not to drink on an empty stomach.
Helping Your Parent Manage Diabetes
There are many ways you can help your parents manage diabetes, but have a conversation with your parent before you take over. Here are four tips to get you started:
- Education. Learn everything you can about the disease and how it is treated. If your parent will let you come to doctor’s appointments, do so – you’ll get a better understanding for how diabetes is affecting your parent as an individual.
- Know the Signs of High and Low Blood Sugar. Knowing what the symptoms of blood sugar imbalance are is an important way to help your parent with diabetes. You can notice when they seem off or when something is wrong, which will help you prompt them to eat, take medication, or rest as needed.
- Notice Your Parent’s Self-Care. While you definitely don’t want to be a nag, you do want to pay attention to your parent’s ability to keep up with the treatment regimen. If you notice they could use reminders, or that they need more help, you might consider part-time home care.
- Consider Additional Help. Your parent may benefit from a support group to avoid isolation or depression. If you are your parent’s caregiver, consider getting part-time in-home health care to help so that you can take a break. You can’t take care of your parent unless you also take care of yourself!
Whenever your parent faces serious health problems, it can seem overwhelming. It is a serious illness, but fortunately treatments are well-known and fully proven. To learn more about what help is available for those living with diabetes, or to find additional caregiving assistance, contact Team Select Home Care at the location nearest you. We’re here to help your parent live a long and healthy life!