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Supporting Seniors with Chronic Illnesses Including Diabetes.

As our loved ones get older, they need more support with a wider variety of tasks, especially if they have a chronic illness that needs to be managed to keep them healthy. Diabetes is a chronic condition that becomes more prevalent with older age with one in six Australians over 65 years of age having diabetes. This increases to almost one in five people over the age of 85. Diabetes can result in significant complications if not well treated including blindness, amputations, kidney disease and heart disease. When an older loved one is diagnosed with a chronic health condition such as diabetes, it can be hard to know how to best support them. At Home Care Assistance, our Care Professionals know how much of a difference the right support can make to an older person with a chronic illness. We have put together these tips to help you support your loved one.

Regardless of which chronic condition your loved one has, there are things you can do to support them. These include:

  1. Medical Appointments

It is important that your loved one attends all necessary medical appointments. They may need help and support to make and keep these appointments. It can also be useful to make sure you write down a list of questions or concerns to ask about at the appointment. Make this list in together with your loved one so everyone’s questions get asked at the appointment. It may also be a good idea to go with your loved one to their appointment. This can help you find out what they need to be supported in their care. However, avoid taking over the appointment – make sure that your loved one, if possible, has ownership of the appointment and their care.

  1. Learn All You Can About the Condition

The more you know, the better you can support your loved one. However, make sure your sources of information are reliable. For example, a good source of information about diabetes is Diabetes Australia, many other conditions have similar, reputable support sources of information.

  1. Assist with Medication Management

Remembering to take medications can be tricky. Finding a system that works for your loved one is important. This might be incorporating taking  medications into their routine, setting an alarm, using a pill organiser. Whatever works to help them. It is also important your loved one be able to get their medication. This may mean regular trips to the chemist to pick them up – or see if you can arrange delivery from the chemist if that works better for your family.

  1. Provide Support, Avoid Blame, Guilt and Power Struggles

Managing a chronic condition is hard. It can be easy to slip up and not manage it optimally all the time. If your loved one is having a hard time managing their condition optimally, avoid making them feel guilty or blaming them. For example, if they have not been exercising (if that is appropriate), rather than getting angry at them, support them by asking them to go for a walk. It is also important support encourages independence where possible. Avoid getting into a power struggle of telling your loved one that they must do, or not do, something in managing their condition. Instead explain to them the benefits of doing something and ask them how you can support them. Taking ownership of their own health helps in effective management of chronic illness, so supporting independence and ownership is important.

There are also some things that are specific to helping your loved on manage diabetes. These include:

  1. Make Sure Healthy Meals are Available

Eating the right foods is an important part of managing diabetes. However, shopping and preparing meals can be a challenge for older people. There are lots of ways you can support them with this including arranging home delivery for shopping, setting them up on a meal delivery service, helping them with meal planning and cooking. Getting into the kitchen together to cook meals that can be reheated during the week can be a great way to spend time together and help make sure your loved one has good meals to eat.

  1. Encourage Activity

Keeping active helps to manage diabetes and is also good for people with many other chronic health conditions. Activity needs to be tailored for the individual and their capabilities – not everyone can do high intensity activity. Even going for a walk or swim can be hugely beneficial in helping to manage diabetes, not to mention the general physical and mental health benefits of exercise.

  1. Keep an Eye on Their Feet

Circulation issues can cause ulcers and other issues with the feet that if left untreated can result in amputation. However, it can be hard to fully check your own feet. Keeping an eye on your loved one’s feet, or booking them in to see a podiatrist regularly, can help address issue early to avoid long term consequences.

Sometimes, helping support your loved one with their chronic illness can be too much on top of the other demands of life. That is okay and there is help available. If your loved one needs extra support, a home care agency such as Home Care Assistance can provide care tailored for your loved one’s needs whether that is help with medications, appointments, meals, exercise, or anything else. It is okay to ask for help if it is needed. Support of a home care agency like Home Care Assistance, can bring enormous benefit and comfort to your quality of life while living independently at home.  Home Care Assistance has viable solutions when it comes to supporting independent living. For more information, get in touch with a Home Care Assistance near me today. 

  

 

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