Living Alone and Living Well With Diabetes

This may be of interest. Read on…




Diabetes Self-Management Articles

http://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/articles/diabetes-basics/living-alone-and-living-well-with-diabetes/all/

Living Alone and Living Well With Diabetes

by Carolyn Robertson, APRN, MSN, BC-ADM, CDE

Planning ahead makes good sense for anyone with diabetes, but for someone who lives alone, it takes on added importance. When you live alone, for example, you can’t take for granted that someone will be with you — or even come home eventually — to help if you develop hypoglycemia or to get supplies for you if you get sick.......

Safety
Hypoglycemia is a common side effect of diabetes therapy, particularly insulin use, and if you develop moderate or severe hypoglycemia while you are alone, it can be dangerous. Your best tool for preventing hypoglycemia is regular blood glucose monitoring. To get a more complete picture of your blood glucose activity, try varying the times of day you check your blood glucose level. ......

If you have special needs, or are otherwise worried about having an emergency in the home, there are many personal emergency response systems (PERS) available. These usually involve a button kept in the home that you press if you are having an emergency, which notifies a response team to come to your house. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publishes information on choosing the right PERS, which you can access by visiting their Web site atwww.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/services/pers.htm. You can also call the FTC toll-free at (877) 382-4357......

Ensure that your important medical information is accessible in the event of an emergency.........

Sick days
Being sick is a physical stress on the body that usually causes blood glucose levels to rise, even if you are not eating......

Because managing your diabetes requires certain supplies, and because you will probably not want to go shopping for these supplies when you are sick, it’s a good idea to stock up on sick-day necessities ahead of time, when you are well.What are these necessities?........

Signs indicating that you need to seek help immediately include persistent vomiting or diarrhea, moderate to high ketone levels, high blood glucose (over 300 mg/dl) that doesn’t respond to treatment, sleepiness and confusion, shortness of breath, or losing more than three pounds in a 24-hour period.......

Shopping and cooking for one
Grocery shopping for one often involves deciding between buying a larger package or amount of food, some of which may go bad before it all gets eaten, and buying individually portioned foods, which are often more expensive than larger portions......


Buying in bulk can make economical sense when you choose foods that won’t go bad quickly.......

Exercise
Regular exercise is recommended for just about everyone with diabetes, and its effects are almost exclusively beneficial — as long as certain safety precautions are observed......


Whether you exercise alone or with other people, wear visible medical identification (such as a necklace or bracelet) when you exercise in case you have an emergency that prevents you from relaying information about your diabetes or other medical conditions.....


Getting support
The stereotypical view of people who live alone is that they’re lonely and depressed......

Joining a diabetes support group, whether in person or online, will put you in touch with people who are facing some of the same issues that you are......


You may also be interested in attending a diabetes class instead of or in addition to a support group....... Learning more about diabetes and developing self-management skills can make dealing with many challenges much easier. Diabetes education programs are available in many parts of the country, and Medicare and most insurance companies will cover part of the cost of attending them. To find information on support groups and education programs in your area, you can check the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Web site,http://diabetes.org (click on Community Programs & Local Events), or call the ADA at (800) 342-2383. Another resource is the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Online Support team, which consists of volunteers from around the country who are available to personally answer your questions and concerns about diabetes and provide support. Visit the Web site www.jdrf.org to learn more.

Additional resources
Living alone with diabetes may present certain challenges, but there are resources and tools at your disposal to help you live safely and healthfully. Please click here to find out more.