A person checking Diabetic while holding Diabetic machine in his hand

How to be a Caregiver for a Diabetic Patient

You need a multi-faceted approach when it comes to managing diabetes. Diabetes also affects other conditions such as cholesterol and blood pressure. You have to take care of everything, including medication, diet, and exercise. All of these things need a complete lifestyle hauling and healthy changes.

In old age, diabetes also raises the risk of cognitive impairment and depression, leading to Alzheimer's and Dementia (here's how you can manage Dementia). Keeping diabetes under control becomes more and more difficult as you grow old. On top of that, other age-related illnesses can further complicate things.

For instance, it can make it difficult to remember taking insulin shots and other medications. Mobility issues and menopause in women can also make it difficult to manage weight, further complicating things.

Caring for a Diabetic Patient

As a diabetes caregiver, you must devote some time to planning their special care. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to diabetes management, whether you choose to care for them at home or put them in personal care homes:

  • Taking care of administering medications like metformin
  • Timely administration of insulin injections
  • Weight management
  • Monitor blood glucose regularly
  • Meal planning to avoid hypoglycemia
  • Ensuring regular medical appointments so you don't face circulatory issues, eye problems, or anything that might complicate diabetes
  • Dental checkups

Tips & Ways to Manage Diabetes in an Elderly Person

Every caregiving role is different based on the needs of the care recipient. Laying out and defining the rules and expectations in your caregiver role will make things easier and run smoothly.

Educate Yourself About Diabetes 

Knowledge is power no matter which aspect of life you talk about. The more you learn about your elderly's condition and ways to manage it, the better you can care for them. Education and knowledge will tell you what all tools and systems your loved ones need.

To learn more about this condition, you can visit sites like ADA (American Diabetes Association) and Mayo Clinic.

You can even visit local hospitals and health clinics to get more education on diabetes. Alternatively, you can opt for diabetes caregiver training and attend them together with your patient.

Take a Few Deep Breaths

Hearing about the diagnosis may be troubling at first for your patient. Your first instinct may be to soothe them or try to fix the situation immediately. Remember, you need to give them time to come to terms with the diagnosis.

Understand their stress and give them some time to come to terms with it. Give them autonomy as much as possible.

Be detached while discussing these things but always be supportive. Do not overwhelm them but be there for them to offer support.

Help Them to Make Healthy Changes

Do anything you can to encourage your patient to adopt a healthy lifestyle. This means making a healthy diet a part of your routine. You should also focus on getting them regular exercises. Start with something light, such as walking or tap dancing.

But, be careful. Do not bombard them with too many changes. Take baby steps. Begin with more minor changes to show your support. Applaud whatever actions they take. Here are some other ways to stay healthy during old age.

Encourage Self-Monitoring

Almost all care homes for the elderly encourage patients to self-monitor their condition. You should also do the same thing. Type 2 Diabetes can be too much for some elderly to handle. The more you encourage them to self-monitor, the more confidence they will have.

You can start with things like using an at-home kit to monitor blood sugar levels. Some tools tell you accurate blood glucose levels every single day. Encourage your senior to also keep track of their exercise, diet, stress levels, etc.

Practice Stress-Relief Techniques

Managing a condition like diabetes can be quite a stressful endeavor. This can further complicate things because increased stress levels tend to affect blood sugar levels negatively. If your patient is constantly in that flight or fight mode caused by stress, blood sugar frequently spikes.

Another thing you can do to care for your elderly is to encourage them to practice self-care. This can include practicing yoga, meditation, getting a full body massage, developing a new hobby, etc.

Be Smart and Careful About Exercising

Managing diabetes means managing your blood sugar levels. And, there's nothing quite like the power of physical activity and exercise to help with that.

It also keeps the blood sugar levels in balance. But, you should know that too much exercise when the blood sugar is already low can be more dangerous than helpful.

Therefore, you must schedule your patient's exercise routine smartly. Ideally, you should do it an hour after you have had the meal. That's when there's a spike in blood sugar, so it makes sense to exercise.

Also, when going for exercise - make sure to carry emergency items such as carb-rich snacks, water, glucose tablets, etc. This is particularly important for parents who might be exercising away from home.

Coordinate Medications

Your patient may have to take a bunch of medicines to manage the condition. As a responsible caregiver, you should buy a pill organizer. This will help you to manage doses and also restock medicine once you're about to run out of them.

If and when going for a doctor's appointment, be sure to accompany them. See that the practitioner doesn't accidentally prescribe anything that might interact with your elderly's existing medication for diabetes. 

Talk to Your Patient

Healthy communication is essential in any caregiving role. Try to look into how their self-care and management routine is looking like for them. Be on the lookout for any red flags such as low energy, irritability, etc.

Be genuinely interested in listening to what your parents have to say. Be realistic about how much time and energy you can invest looking after them and the level of care they need to function properly and live a healthy life. 

Bottom Line

These are some of the things you can do to look after your patient. All of these are simple tricks and techniques you can follow to ensure a healthy life for your diabetic patient.

Additional Caregiving REsources

A graphic of caregivers. Text, 14 Days of Bite-Size Caregiver Tips :  for further details click on image link

14 Days of Caregiver Tips

A graphic of a caregiver helping an elderly man. Text, 23 Tips for New Caregivers

23 Tips for New Caregivers

A graphic of Caregiver statistics: an inside look at the life of a caregiver : for further details click on image link

Caregiver Statistics

A graphic of two outlines of heads. Text, the guide to dementia caregiving

The Guide to Dementia Caregiving


About Carex Health Brands

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Carex is your one-stop shop for home medical equipment and for products that assist caregivers with providing the best possible support and care for their loved ones. Carex Health Brands has been the branded leader in in-home, self-care medical products for over 35 years. Our goal is to improve the lives of our customers by bring them quality products that bring dignity back to their lives. With our three nationally distributed brands, Carex Health Brands serves national, regional and independent food, drug and mass retailers along with wholesalers, distributors and medical dealers.

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