Diabetes is a serious disease that can cause multiple complications.
If your parent has been diagnosed with diabetes, he will need to have a comprehensive health plan that permeates every aspect of his life in order for him to stay healthy and avoid some of the more common complications that can occur with diabetic patients. Here are some ways that you, as his caregiver, your parent himself, and even his home health care provider can take an active role in his diabetic care.
The first step is just making a commitment by everyone to work together to manage your parent’s diabetic care. You’ll want family members, caregivers, home health care aides, and doctors to all be on the same page as you care for your parent.
1. Monitoring his blood sugar and taking the proper medication is one of the main tasks your parent will have to do to keep his diabetes under control. His doctor will give specific times to check his blood sugar (such as before and/or after meals). Making sure your parent is aware of how important these checks are even if he feels well, will be a big step in him managing his diabetes.
2. Taking his medication regularly, as prescribed will also help ensure his diabetes stays under control. Having a reminder alert for his medication times or actually assisting him in taking it will help you both trust that he hasn’t forgotten about his medication. Some doctors may also recommend taking a low dose of aspirin each day to reduce his risk of stroke or heart attack.
3. Keeping high blood pressure and cholesterol under control is paramount. Both conditions are exasperated when combined with diabetes and can escalate into troubling numbers much more quickly than they would in someone without diabetes. If high blood pressure is already an issue, monitor it often to ensure your parent’s numbers are at healthy levels. You might even consider purchasing a blood pressure monitor to keep at his home.
4. Your parent’s home health care provider can take and record his results with each visit.
5. Quitting a smoking habit and/or reducing drinking alcohol are both needed steps in managing your parent’s diabetes. Smoking increases the risk of many diabetes 2 complications such as heart disease, stroke, eye disease, and kidney disease. And while an occasional alcoholic drink with a meal is okay, it’s important to realize that alcohol alters blood sugar levels, especially for those diabetics who need to take insulin.
6. Paying attention to your parent’s feet will need to be a daily chore since diabetes often reduces blood flow and the feet can be negatively affected by this. Cuts and blisters that are left untreated can lead to serious infections and possibly even amputation. If your parent struggles to see his feet or care for them because of flexibility or mobility issues, your home health care provider can help with checking his feet during visits and applying moisturizer.
Helping your parent stay on top of his diabetic caregiving will let him know he doesn’t have to go on this journey alone and with a great team on his side, he will learn to live well with diabetes.