How much is too much?

Hi everyone,

I have a grandfather who was diagnosed with diabetes several years ago. I have been learning as much as possible in recent months so that I can help whenever I visit. I cook healthy meals in his dietary guidelines (he is a Type II and takes insulin shots twice a day) and just try and be patient - he also has dementia which has complicated matters a bit.

My question is this: What else can I do without seeming pushy or overwhelming my grandparents? My grandma is doing a wonderful job, but I know she needs a break from time to time. Any suggestions are welcome!

Be there. Ask grandma – and grandpa in his lucid moments (if he still has them). It may be that grandma considers “taking a break” to be forfeiting her duty to her husband – or it may be that she’s been looking for a while for someone to stay with grandpa while she goes out shopping, or goes to the beauty parlor. Or maybe grandpa’s a little too much to handle alone while out in public, and you being along with them gives grandpa enough guidance for all of you to be safe. These are things that only they can discuss with you.

Hi Tonya,
I think you are doing the best thing you can do for them. When my dad was ill before he died, my Mom always seemed a little relieved when one of us came down to spend a little time with her. All of us lived out of town and Mom would not walk away for very long. She would run to the store for a bit or be happy to get to go to church on Sunday, but would not stay way for longer than that. When I brought Dad to St. Louis for treatment, she stayed home, but wanted him brought back in just a few days. He did not have dementia but seemed happier to get back home with Mom.
Cooking, cleaning, a chance to run an errand are all good thngs. But probably the best one of all is just in knowing how much you care. Hang in there. It is a hard time for all of you.

Seems like your doing everything right for them! Just keep being there for them and that’s the best thing you can do for them. Let them talk about what’s bothering them. I know I let my grandmother do that and it seems to help her! Me being the diabetic (Type 1) and she has lost both her girls and my grandfather all her brother’s and sisters and me being the only grandchild she has it seems like alot on me but I love to see her eyes light up when I just sit and listen to her talk and say I know ppl when the only thing I can do is rememer is hearing their name time and time again! That’s been my lie with the dementa part anyway! HA!!

I am just wondering what dietary guidelines you are following? Sometimes, Type 2s are told to eat a low fat high carbohydrate diet that can cause damagingly high blood sugar levels after eating. If they are only testing fasting levels this might not be noticed. I have a friend with Type 2 who is on insulin and she had no idea that her “so-called” healthy diet of whole grains was causing her to go up into the 300 and 400 range after eating. She switched to a lower carb diet and is seeing numbers in the 90s. She is very upset that the medical profession never gave her this advice- to limit carbs- and that she is insulin dependent with neuropathy as a result. In terms of the dementia, is your grandfather on statin drugs to lower his cholesterol? My father was put on a statin and became very confused and disoriented. Statins can contribute to memory loss and dementia in the elderly and should not be taken by older people.

Thank you! These have all been very helpful and I appreciate the kind notes. It’s been a rough road and I will be seeing them again this Saturday. I will be sure to just ask my grandma what she needs. Although she’ll probably say “nothing” I’ll at least let her know that I’m there if she needs anything. Thanks everyone!

My grandfather has a great doctor that constantly checks his blood sugar levels and compares it to the food diary that my grandma keeps religiously. They’ve gone through a couple different types that needed to be adjusted, but so far so good. His is low carbs, I believe. It’s been a while since I cooked for him and I know he has gone through a couple changes recently to readjust to his ever-changing body.

I don’t believe my grandpa is on statins. For Christmas two years ago, we bought my grandma a computer and pay for her internet access so she can do a lot of the research on her own. Plus, they have twelve kids and 30 grandkids, so we’re all feeding her research that we find as well. She checks everything with the doctor (who, like I said, is really great). Thanks for asking! I appreciate the extra information.