diabetes and the elderly

By nickel Latest Reply 2009-03-12 12:11:38 -0500
Started 2009-03-12 10:33:00 -0500

anyone have a teaching plan useful to teach the elderly about the disease? non-compliance to diet, exercise and check ups, any ideas to turn them around?

3 replies

Pauline B
Pauline B 2009-03-12 12:11:38 -0500 Report

As Food Service Director in several nursing homes and hospitals it was usually my duty to do nutritional counseling for several reasons. The dietitian was "contracted" meaning she was only there for a certain number of hours a week. And, especially as was true in the psych hospital, the dietitian gave the appearance of having "All the asnwers" whereas the information imparted by my laid back approach was more easily HEARD. Now that I am retired I am still giving instructions as there is a lot of misinformation.

The first thing I tell people is that the food we eat is a combination of 3 major categories: carbohydrates, fats and proteins, and them give them examples. I then tell them that our brains need glucose to work right, and tell them what gluocose is, and why we are called diabetics. I could go on-and-on here and continue with my plan but it usually develops into a counseling plan though I would never consider myself a counselor as such. My goal is for them to see that they do need to make drastic changes in their every-day life to be compliant but they do have to follow a game plan.

LadyDi - 26259Miller
LadyDi - 26259Miller 2009-03-12 11:35:53 -0500 Report

I think this can only be determined based on the individual's ability to comprehend and actually do what is necessary to care for themselves. In many cases it will be in the hands of the caregiver. In other cases, unfortunately, there may be no one around to assist, and the person either will go untreated or left to handle it themselves when they are not capable. Very frightening. With the number of medications that the elderly are often on, it is so important that they get the proper dosages at the appropriate time. Tney are often unable to handle their diet properly, and often do not want to eat the right thing or even eat at all.

Keeping up with our meds can be confusing to most of us, but for those who are challenged mentally and/or physically, this can be a nightmare.

rbergman 2009-03-12 10:56:09 -0500 Report

I thiink, as with all age groups, it is the individuals choice to take care of their diabetes. I myself started out great 7yrs ago when I was diagnosed but I got tired of it and eventually gave up. Only recently I had my wake-up call when our daughter was diagnosed with diabetes and I knew I could not teach her how to do it right if I myself wasn't taking care of my own diabetes. I don't want this to sound offending to anyone but I personally think that the elderly who are non-compliant, as you say, may have to be taught as you would teach a child, small steps, watch them carefully, explain everything in detail of what to do and why it has to be done. Prepare the meals for them but encourage them to help, and if they "slip up" and get a high BGL because of it, explain to them that that is why eating properly is key. The elderly are so set in their ways that I'd imagine it would be more difficult for them than it would be a child to get on the right track, they would probably tend to argue more along the lines of "I've always eaten this way why should I change now" or " I get plenty of exercise already" etc.

I have no personal experience with the exception that when my grandmother, who was in her 70s when diagnosed, was found to be diabetic after gallbladder removal surgery, she also had to have a leg amputated while still recovering from the gallbladder surgery in the hospital due to gangrene that developed while there. She, being so set in her ways, felt that without her leg she was NOT ever going to be the same person she was prior to losing her leg and she willed herself to die and only lived 2wks from beginning to end of this whole ordeal. So, in her case the diabetes care itself really never had a chance to come into play.

I found a few articles that are related to your topic and am posting the URL for those articles, maybe they can help you a little more.



I hope this is of some help to you!

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