If your aging loved one has diabetes, chances are, they have had it for many years, if not most of their life. They know exactly what to do if their blood sugar gets too low or if it gets too high, and they know what they need to do in order to simulate the working of their pancreas with insulin.
Now that their health is declining, though, you must be the one to take care of all of these things. Even if you have a home care aide, they cannot administer any insulin or medications that your loved one needs, because home care aides are “aides,” not nurses or doctors.
So, what do you need to remember if you suddenly become responsible for your loved one’s diabetes care? Here is a short list of things you should know in order to be more effective at this new job.
- Type of Diabetes. The first thing you need to know is what type of diabetes your loved one has: Type 1 or Type 2? The treatment is different for both. While both affect the glucose level in the blood, they are actually two totally different conditions. Type 2 can actually possible be cured over time with adjustments to diet and more exercise and/or weight loss, but Type 1 cannot be cured, only managed. Before you start treating your loved one, you should make absolutely sure you know which type of diabetes you are dealing with.
- Insulin. For people with Type 1 diabetes especially, insulin is very important. In a healthy person, insulin is produced by the pancreas, but in someone with diabetes, the pancreas has ceased to function. This means that insulin must be injected with a syringe or via an insulin pump each day, without fail, in order to keep the body working as it should. Find out what times your loved one usually takes their insulin (and what dosage is appropriate, as this could change from day to day) and administer it at this same time each day.
- Blood sugar. With both types of diabetes, one must check their blood sugar often, to be sure that it is not too high or too low. You do this with a special meter, in which you put a drop of blood drawn from your loved one’s finger. This will tell you what their blood sugar is, and you must learn what numbers are good, and what numbers mean that you need to take action, such as giving them something sweet to make the numbers come up.
- Food. Food is of the utmost importance for someone with diabetes. The wrong snack could raise their blood sugar way too high, or foods without enough carbohydrates could cause their blood sugar to crash. No matter which type of diabetes they have, your loved one should eat a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables, carbs, and lean meats. Find out which foods do what in the body of your specific loved one, and work from there.
The key to taking care of a loved one with diabetes is to become an expert on diabetes yourself. Do as much research as you can, but most of all, talk to your loved one, as they are the expert on their particular diabetes.
If you or someone you know needs help with home care in Grand Rapids, MI, contact Gauthier Family Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services in our community. Call us at (616) 258-2300 for more information.
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