Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in people when they are very young and is a lifelong disease. If your parent has type 1 diabetes, they’ve likely had it for quite some time. However, as a family caregiver, you may now be responsible for managing the condition for them. Knowing more about the condition will take some of the mystery out of your new responsibilities.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes was once called juvenile diabetes because it is commonly diagnosed in children, but it can be diagnosed in adults, too. When a person has type 1 diabetes, their body doesn’t make insulin. This is a problem because insulin is necessary to extract sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream to provide cells with energy. People with type 1 diabetes need to manage the condition by taking insulin and living a healthy lifestyle.
The cause of type 1 diabetes is still unknown. Researchers think that genetics are involved, but are also investigating whether something else might bring the disease on. They do know that type 1 diabetes causes the immune system to attack cells in the pancreas that create insulin.
Managing Type 1 Diabetes
Managing type 1 diabetes for a senior parent requires commitment, but there are many things you can do to help your parent stay as healthy as possible.
Some of the things your parent will need to help them manage their condition are:
-Regular Medical Exams: Your parent will need to see their doctor regarding their diabetes regularly, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need annual physical exams as well. During a yearly physical, your parent’s doctor will look for complications due to diabetes as well as other unrelated conditions. In addition to physicals, your parent should also see an eye doctor every year since diabetes can cause damage to the eyes.
-Foot Care: -Foot care is important since diabetes can lead to poor circulation and nerve damage in the feet. Your parent’s feet should be washed daily in warm water and dried thoroughly, especially between the toes. Watch for sores or cuts and talk to your parent’s doctor if there are sores that don’t heal.
-Vaccinations: -Your parent’s vaccinations should be kept up to date because the immune system can be impaired by high blood sugar levels. Talk to the doctor about which vaccinations your parent needs.
-Physical Activity: -Exercise helps keep blood sugar at more consistent levels and improves overall health.
-Healthy Diet: -A healthy diet is essential in controlling blood sugar levels and keeping your parent healthy.
How Senior Care Can Help
Hiring a senior care provider through an agency can help you to assist your parent in remaining healthy with type 1 diabetes. Senior care providers can help prepare healthy meals for your parent. They can also remind your parent to take medications and drive them to medical appointments. Senior care providers can also help with foot care. Having a senior care provider check on your parent during the day can also relieve some of the stress placed on family caregivers. Knowing that your parent is safe and cared for allows you to continue to live your life and attend to your responsibilities with less worry.
Are you or a family member considering in homecare in St. Johns, MI? Talk to our friendly staff about respite care and in-home companion services for your aging loved-one. Call Us Today (517) 485-6100.
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