Planning ahead is a good idea for anyone who has diabetes, but for your senior parent who lives alone, it is even more important. When your loved one lives alone, they don't have someone with them at all times to help them get supplies if they are sick or get help if they suddenly develop hypoglycemia.
Getting the support they need can be challenging when it comes from someone living outside the home. Below are some tips you can follow if you are worried about your senior diabetic parent living alone.
Tips for Your Diabetic Parents Living Alone
Get a Personal Emergency Response System
If your parent has special needs or if you are always worried they will have an emergency, you could look into getting them a personal emergency response system (PERS). This enables them to stay independent since all they have to do is push a button if they have an emergency, and a response team will be alerted and come to their home.
You can check out the Federal Trade Commission's website to get information on this type of system and choose which one is best for your senior loved one. They also have a phone number you can call which is 877-382-4357.
Keep an Eye Out for Changes
Since your parent's aging can be gradual, you might not necessarily notice any changes in them immediately. If you notice a change in their temperament, it could be an indication that other aspects are declining or changing.
Age-related vision problems, pain or difficulty with physical activity, memory lapses, or loss of fine motor functions can impact their diabetes self-care. For instance, it takes fine motor function to do a finger stick blood glucose test or using a syringe to draw insulin. When you start noticing any changes, you should sit down with your loved one and come up with solutions together.
Secure a Plan
Ensure you and your senior parent understands the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia since not all people get sweaty, shaky, and confused. In some people, the signs may be more subtle, such as feeling tired or sleepy. Securing a plan of action with your loved one such as fast-acting treatment options when they begin feeling the effects of hypoglycemia can help.
Although it can be scary for both you and your senior parent for them to live alone with diabetes, neither one of you should have to live in fear. There are resources available if you are. A senior assisted living home might be a good option that you can sit and talk to your senior parent about. Senior home health services can help your loved one remain independent and have a life enriching experience, even with diabetes.
Eskaton offers residents access to an in-house, private doctor and professional medical team, who can evaluate blood sugar levels, examine wounds, and more.