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6 Important Ways to Help Seniors with Diabetes

March 22nd, 2016

Here's how families and patients can live better with diabetes-- courtesy of BrightStar North Suburban

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Let's get the tough stuff out of the way then move on to the positive news.
About 25.8 million Americans have diabetes--a remarkable 8.3 percent of the population. One in four (1 in 4), U.S. residents aged 65 and older have diabetes.
These are serious stats because poorly managed diabetes can lead to dire consequences, including kidney failure, heart disease and stroke.

What good news do we have to share? First, the fact that seniors can
live better with diabetes as the American Diabetes Association points out in an important article found online about living with diabetes.

Next, BrightStar Care North Suburban has a special, hopeful, affordable and helpful diabetes care team lead by a Registered Nurse to share with you. It's an approach to diabetes that is customized and personalized for each patient and assists and advises you (or your loved one) with an entire team of diabetes professionals guiding your care to manage the disease at home.

As we all know, a team effort produces greater synergy, energy and results (1+1 =3), not to mention the fact that you have many experts (actual people, too) giving you high-quality, highly- compassionate care, which is always welcome and wonderful.

Uncommon compassion is what
separates BrightStar North Suburban from other home-care services. To find out more about this customized, team-care approach visit

6 Easy and Smart Things Families of Diabetics Can Do to Help

  1. Start talking early and applaud their savvy: Begin by giving your partner or parent credit and compassion because, up 'til now, they've been managing their diabetes alone. They've made it this far--now with your participation it will be easier and as a team you can do even more.Find out how they've managed and what some barriers to even greater success might be such as financial resources or lack of support even from you.
    One important thing to discuss is the current living situation. Does it suit their needs or provide obstacles to living better with the disease. Talk it over in a loving, understanding way and hopefully you'll talk it over, over and over again.
  2. KISS (Keep It Sincerely Simple): Understand that changes are often difficult for seniors to assimilate--even if those changes are in their best interests. Medha Munshi, MD, head of the Joslin Missouri Diabetes Geriatric Diabetes Clinic
    focuses on simplifying care for her older patients. She points out that we lose frontal-lobe brain function as we age, which is the area that controls starting new behavior and stopping old behavior."It seems like people are being stubborn," she says, "but it's very hard for them to change their behavior in any way." So even if there are new medications that might suit them better; if they're doing well on older, familiar medications, she keeps them on the regimen she knows will work and not cause stress. Bottom line, recognize that assimilating new information or a new regimen having to do with diabetes care may not be easy. Go slow and with love and understanding.
  3. Be aware of aging changes: Don't expect the print of Dorian Gray in your basement to start aging noticeably. Signs of aging are much more subtle than that and are critically important to notice. Impairment of physical coordination, or memory lapses, vision problems or loss of motor function can directly limit a diabetics' self-care skills, especially the ability to inject insulin --and inject it safely. If signs are becoming unmistakable and scary, you'll want to seek medical attention and perhaps consult with a specialist. Professionals like Munshi recommend a simple start to increased care, which can
    begin with an honest and loving conversation. "I see (mom or dad) that you're having trouble with that; let me help you out a little. In fact, from now on, why don't we do this together." Again, converse while you make sure that pillbox is filled correctly and the insulin shot goes well.
  4.  Monitor Mood and Mental Health: Mom and dad are always "fine and doing okay" aren't they? According to them. It seems it's a parent's job in life not to worry their children or tell them the truth about how they really feel. Let's face it, living with diabetes is difficult and can be depressing. Again, there are usually signs that take the place of words: uncommon irritability, moodiness, the reluctance to converse about everyday things, difficulty sleeping at night. Caregivers should watch out for sustained negative behavior; be as compassionate as possible and seek help from a counselor or therapist if you feel it's needed. It can help you, too.
  5. Keep the big picture in mind. Try to remain as cool as possible, which may be easier said than done because you love your parents so much, but try to limit nagging, scolding and expressing your discontent ("I'm not mad, I'm disappointed!"Does that seem familiar? It's easy to see how role reversal comes into play as children turn into parents). Constantly putting pressure on loved ones who have been worrying about and having to maintain close scrutiny about numbers may serve to raise your blood pressure level and theirs.

It helps to keep the major goal in mind, which is
really about managing short-term risks such as hypoglycemia (low blood glucose), which can lead to dizziness, fainting or falling. But, according to physicians, high sugar spikes once in awhile can be okay and even expected.

"Even in people who don’t have diabetes, blood sugars fluctuate constantly," says Linda M. Siminerio, RN, PhD, CDE, director of the Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "It shouldn't be ignored, but if high blood sugar happens once in a while and you're able to get it under control quickly with insulin or exercise, it may be nothing serious."
What potentially raises glucose levels: 

  • Not enough insulin before bed, or an insulin pump may not be functioning properly
  • The "dawn phenomenon"--pre-dawn, usually between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., the body releases more glucose into your bloodstream
  • Stress from recent activities --carbo-loading the day before from the pasta or pizza party
  • Illness like a cold or flu
  • Depression

The bottom line is not to worry excessively--wait and monitor again. Every body deserves a break!
Click to examine the superb BrightStar North Suburban diabetes care plan

At BrightStar Care North Suburban, we know managing diabetes and blood sugars isn’t easy and often takes assistance and support. That's why we take a team approach to maximize care, maintain safety, keep numbers down and hope up. "It's a welcome injection of hope and help " says Sharon Roth Maguire, nurse practitioner and Vice President of Quality and Clinical Operations for BrightStar Care®." Sharon has much more to say and share about how the BrightStar team plan is customized for each patient to make a difference. Simply click here to learn more.

The final thought from BrightStar Care North Suburban is we are singular when it comes a combined effort of in-home care. Don't wait another minute to deal with tough conditions alone. Call 847-510-5750 today or Contact us online.

Resources
http://www.diabetesforecast.org/2014/05-may/5-ways-to-help-seniors-with.html

www/diabetes.org./living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/seniors/

http://www.everydayhealth.com/diabetes/dealing-with-unexplained-blood-sugar-spikes.aspx