Monday, 15 November 2021

Providing Care to a Loved One with Diabetes

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The prospect of addressing your mom or dad’s diabetic diagnosis can be overwhelming. You may have questions about diet, medication and testing their blood sugar.

What is Diabetes?

It’s a chronic disease that involves the body’s inability to produce or use the hormone insulin. The pancreas regulates insulin production, which helps glucose move from the bloodstream into cells.

There are three types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes: The pancreas doesn’t make any insulin.

Type 2 diabetes: The pancreas produces insulin, but not enough to satisfy the body’s needs. Or, the pancreas creates insulin, but the hormone is not effectively moving glucose into the body’s cells.

Gestational diabetes: This condition can occur in women when their body produces less insulin during pregnancy.

Important Steps in Managing Diabetic Care

Visit your mom’s doctor regularly: It’s essential to stay in contact with your mom’s primary care physician to address questions, symptoms and treatment options. Trouble regulating glucose levels is common in newly diagnosed patients, so your mom may need assistance managing her condition. Her doctor will also provide a prescription for blood sugar monitors and medication if drugs are necessary.

Create a diabetic diet plan: Eating the right foods is a key part of regulating your dad’s blood sugar. He should eat a well-balanced diet and keep snacks on hand to manage low blood sugar. Meeting with a dietician will establish a starting point and provide insight on what foods to include and avoid.

The following foods are proven to support a well-balanced diabetic diet:

  • Fatty fish like salmon, herring, mackerel and anchovies
  • Skinless chicken or turkey
  • Reduced-fat cheese
  • Eggs
  • Nuts, seeds and legumes
  • Low-starch vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spinach, cauliflower, cucumbers, asparagus, green beans, onion and eggplant
  • Antioxidant-rich fruits, including strawberries, raspberries, peaches, oranges, apples, pears and watermelon
  • Olive oil

Work together to implement exercise: A consistent strength and aerobic exercise regimen will help your mom maintain a healthy weight. Exercise also releases feel-good hormones that can boost her mood and improve her energy. Consult her doctor before beginning an exercise routine and start with simple activities such as walking, yoga or swimming.

Pay attention to foot care: If your dad has type 2 diabetes, he’s more susceptible to circulation issues and foot problems, including numbness, injury and infection. Check his feet regularly to monitor for sores, blisters or redness. Wash and dry his feet thoroughly and change his socks every day. Applying lotion will soothe and soften his skin.

Testing Blood Sugar

Using a glucose meter is one of the most important steps in managing a loved one’s diabetes. The traditional manner of testing involves a portable blood sugar meter that requires a small drop of blood from your dad’s finger to test his glucose level.

Testing his blood sugar allows your dad to:

  • Monitor the effects of his medication.
  • Track his overall progress in managing his condition.
  • Identify hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
  • Understand how his diet and exercise plan affect his glucose.

There are non-invasive continuous glucose monitors (CGM) that are more comfortable and less time-consuming than finger sticks. CGMs use a sensor inserted in the skin to monitor blood sugar at scheduled intervals. Your dad will require a prescription from his physician to acquire a CGM if he’s eligible.

SavaSeniorCare offers comprehensive diabetic care to our residents who require specific services. Contact us online or call 800-929-4762 to learn about our levels of care.

Read 344 times Last modified on Monday, 29 November 2021