As always, I am anxious to share some of this week’s solid information that I have offered to patients attending our diabetes office practice. Their questions and concerns keep me focused on giving simple answers that help them get back on track practicing positive diabetes care.
Positive Diabetes Care of an Elderly Patient
A lovely elderly woman came in with a recent problem that was causing her great anxiety. She is taking large doses of insulin but is limited in her ability to stand for any lengthy period of time due to bad hips and severe arthritis. She does not drive and is unable to shop or prepare her own meals; she is on an extremely tight budget. Her daughter has lived with her for the past two years and always has taken responsibility to do the cooking along with paying for the groceries. Her daughter’s work just relocated her outside of the state and now she is left alone to take responsibility of meal preparation along with purchasing the food. She is severely afraid of living alone due to possible hypoglycemia caused from taking insulin and not eating correctly. Luckily, she does have a neighbor who is happy to pick up the groceries if she is given a list and money.
What to do? Between us we came up with a list of reasonably priced foods that do not require a lot of preparation and that she enjoys eating. She does have a microwave (with a chair nearby) which certainly makes life easier in the kitchen. I suggested the “go to items” which may not be as exciting as Cordon Bleu or Beef Wellington but will keep her on her budget, keep it simple and nutritious. We also made sure she is including good carbohydrates, fats and proteins in portion sizes throughout the day and evening. I addressed her concerns of reducing her risk of hypoglycemia and being alone. Included on the mutual food list were: canned tuna fish, canned chicken, canned salmon, canned sardines, eggs, string cheese and peanut butter for her protein and fat source. Also on the list were frozen vegetables, sweet potatoes, canned rinsed beans or garbanzos, instant oatmeal, plain yogurt, seasonal fruits or fruit cups in no syrup, as well as canned low sodium soups. Add in a loaf of fresh grain bread and some low fat milk, glucose tablets and you can definitely get by without a lot of cooking time, high expense or untreated hypoglycemia. She was relieved that it was that simple! I also encouraged her to check with her neighbor each morning just to make sure she did not feel alone, confused or frightened. Her neighbor was delighted to be her local emergency contact and was willing to learn what to do for hypoglycemia.
Sometimes when we are suddenly stressed our problems can seem insurmountable. Thinking it through calmly with another person, like a diabetes educator, can easily make real simple answers appear! Feel free to write in with your questions or concerns and I will be happy to try to help! Until then, stay healthy!
NOTE: Consult your Doctor first to make sure my recommendations fit your special health needs.
She is a member of the American Diabetes Association as well as the South Florida Association of Diabetes Educators. She worked with the education department of NBMC to help educate the hospital's in-patient nurses about diabetes. She practices a healthy lifestyle and has worked as a personal fitness trainer in the past.
She was one of the initiators of the North Broward Diabetes Center (NBMC) which started in 1990 and was one of the first American Diabetes Association (ADA) certified programs in Broward County, Florida for nearly two decades. Robbie has educated patients to care for themselves and has counseled them on healthy eating, heart disease, high lipids, use of glucometers, insulin and many other aspects of diabetes care. The NBMC Diabetes Center received the Valor Award from the American Diabetes Center for excellent care to their patients. Robbie has volunteered over the years as leader of many diabetes support groups.