If someone in your family has diabetes, it is most likely that it comes with changes for everyone in the household. This is especially so if you are caring for an older parent, family member, or spouse.
Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes is a widespread condition that affects over 120 million people in the United States and for people over the age of 65, it affects 1 in 4 adults.
Managing diabetes may be difficult without the support of family, so if you have an elderly parent or a family member who has diabetes, you should get as involved as possible to make sure that they aren’t alone when they face it.
Why Is it Important to Manage Diabetes?
Similar to high blood pressure, diabetes can go undetected and unnoticed until much later. Diabetes has been linked to stroke, heart attacks, blindness, and a lot of other ailments, so it is best to check blood sugar levels regularly.
When blood sugar or glucose levels are too high, this may also result in a diabetic coma where the person affected is unable to respond to noise, sights, or smell.
Tips to Help Your Loved Ones Manage Diabetes
To properly care for someone who has diabetes, you need to absorb as much information as possible about it. This means not only reading up about diabetes from trusted sites such as the American Diabetes Association but following them to doctor’s appointments if possible. Doing so will help you get more informed about the disease and how to manage it. There are also many diabetes education classes online or held at clinics or hospitals that you can attend with your loved one.
Diet is an important part of managing diabetes. Eating healthier foods and making dietary changes like swapping simple carbohydrates for complex carbs such as whole grains can help to bring down blood sugar levels. Keeping unhealthy foods out of the home shows solidarity and support to your loved one. While this may seem like a huge change, making this switch together with a loved one will make the process a little easier. This way, you are not only able to help someone else eat better but also help yourself in the process.
Exercise also plays a part in keeping glucose levels low and helps with weight loss. Being overweight has been linked to diabetes and many other medical conditions. Schedule exercises an hour after meals because blood sugar levels are higher and never exercise with low blood sugar levels as this may be dangerous. Should you exercise away from home, you need to prepare emergency items such as glucose tablets and a bottle of water.
As a caregiver, it may be tempting to completely take over doctor’s visits for your family member with diabetes, but they should also understand their condition. This way, they can self-monitor their blood sugar levels, and they will be able to tell if something is wrong and what needs to be done.
Diabetes can be a scary diagnosis but a few lifestyle changes may make it easier to deal with and having the support of a family member will make the journey a little better.