Unfortunately, diabetes is very common among the senior population. Because of the myriad of issues that surround this disease, it often falls to caregivers to help their elderly loved ones and patients manage their diabetes. This can at first seem like an overwhelming task. However, if caregivers educate themselves about the needs and considerations of this disease, and specifically what their senior loved one needs when dealing with it, it can become manageable. Knowing both how and what you need to manage diabetes is the first step. If you are an elderly person dealing with diabetes, a concerned child of an elderly diabetic, or a caregiver of someone older, here are some things you need to know about managing diabetes:
- Tracking the disease: It is crucial for both the caregiver and the patient to understand what is going on with their diabetes. The need for accurate information helps you to plan proper nutrition, exercise and medication. Both the patient (if they are able), and the caregiver, will need to have a meter, lancets and test strips to measure and track blood sugar. In addition, you will need control solution to accurately measure blood glucose levels.
- Nutritional needs: Diabetics have specific nutritional needs. Once the blood sugar has been measure and tracked, then the diet for the day can be planned. For many seniors, diabetic nutrition becomes a problem due to the process of aging and the effects of the disease. Sometimes, nutritional supplements become needed. Find nutritional supplements that are specifically formulated for the diabetic patient. This way, they can gain the nutrients they need without disrupting the delicate balance of their system. Best of all, these formulations come in easy to drink powders, shakes or juices, and even puddings, so there is no need to overwhelm your loved one with plates of food or hard to eat pills.
- Exercise: Many diabetics are reluctant to exercise due to low energy from disrupted blood sugar, and some fear injury and slow healing. Encouraging and helping your elderly loved one to do even mild exercise can go a long way toward helping control their diabetes. A walk through the neighborhood, or a stroll through the mall, can help. In addition, the added involvement can add quality of life to your elderly loved one.
- Skin care: Diabetics need special skin care due to the toll on their skin from the imbalance of insulin. Dry skin is a problem for many diabetic patients, and because elderly skin is more fragile and prone to breakdown, moisturizing is especially important. If this is a problem for your loved one or patient, you can check out the entire Triderma line which offers a dry skin healing cream for diabetics. Keeping elderly skin clean, cared for, and moisturized can also help prevent the skin breakdown, and the need for wound care.
- Wound care: An unfortunate side effect of diabetes is the inability to heal quickly. For elderly diabetics who must have surgery, or suffer an injury, this can mean slow healing skin. It becomes crucial to care for wounds to prevent infection and further complication. This leads to improvement in overall health and a much higher quality of life. Some of the available products that can help in wound care are: wound cleansers, gauzes, pads, compression bandages, skin closures and tapes.
About R.O.S Therapy Systems: R.O.S. Therapy Systems began as a backyard project in 2010. Scott Silknitter was searching for tools to help his mother care for his father, Roger Owen Silknitter, during a 25-year fight with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. That project became a personal mission to help all family caregivers. From family caregiver training and activity books to mobile apps to activity systems, R.O.S. has grown to become a single-source provider of informational “how to’s” and a growing provider of adaptive tools for the millions of husbands, wives, children, and family members that become caregivers.
Common sense advice and instruction based on proven principles of communication, engagement, and daily living are the heart of everything R.O.S. offers for family caregivers. Improving quality of life for caregivers is our mission, and designing everything for a family caregiver struggling with a loved one is the starting point. Whether it is dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s, ALS, stroke, visual impairment, developmental disabilities, or any other issue that forces someone to care for a loved one, R.O.S. and its Caregiving 101 program are here to help.