Just like a diet program, Tight Control seems quite exciting when you and your client initially tackle it; keeping it going is yet another issue. Although you may be willing to stick with it, it may be another issue altogether for your elderly client. In fact, in the mind of seniors, beginning a new regimen of any type (any kind of change at all) can be disastrously overwhelming!
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has some suggestions which will keep your clients (and you) running on track:
- Start slowly.
For example, you might start by checking your client’s blood glucose more times each day. Get used to that first. Then start the multiple daily injections (if warranted by their doctor). Once they are used to those, add a new exercise program and make the changes in their diet.
- Be honest.
If your client has been newly diagnosed with diabetes, are they angry and depressed that they have it? If so, you already have a big challenge facing you. You may want to wait to try tight control until after they have come to terms with the changes in their life. If not, the success rate could be minimal!
- Keep goals realistic.
No matter how hard you try, your client’s blood glucose readings will not be perfect every time. If they are often too high or too low, you should have another discussion with their doctor about whether their Tight Control plan needs to be adjusted. But if “wrong” levels happen only sometimes, that’s life. With practice, you and your client will become more skilled at choosing the right insulin doses for various situations; at first it may be more of a trial and error situation.
- Take a break.
If your client needs to, take a breather from the new routine. Having some time off may make it easier to stick to the plan when you both start again.
Everything with seniors takes a bit of adjustment time. If we think about it long and hard, what will we be like when we get to their age? Will we welcome diabetes and all of the other aches and pains that go hand-in-hand with getting older? I think not!
That is exactly why I believe that With Age Comes Respect and I plan on giving as much time and consideration to my patients as they possibly need!