Do You Have Diabetes?
Ask These Questions
Before Choosing An Assisted Living
Before choosing a care community, you'll want to understand diabetic services in assisted living because not every facility provides comprehensive diabetic care. Make the best choice for your or your loved one's health by understanding the basics and asking 3 key questions.
Diabetes Is On The Rise
Type 2 diabetes is on the rise among older adults. The ADA reports that 25% of people 65+ are or will become diabetic. Which means it’s an important topic when considering assisted living. Not all communities offer full diabetes management and care. Many have strict criteria for the care they do provide.
Assisted Living and Diabetic Care
First, it’s important to remember that the State (Oregon) sets minimum standards of care. Basic medication management is required. But each facility sets its own ceiling. This means a community can decline complex medical needs. And diabetic care is often complex.
Residents with diabetes must have the disease under control. Their diabetes must be stable, predictable, and manageable. Significant highs and lows in blood glucose levels usually indicates an unstable condition. Communities may consider you too high a risk.
Diabetics requiring help with glucose blood checks, oral medications, and injections may not be candidates for every assisted living. It depends on the criteria of each facility.
Higher Care Costs
You will pay higher care costs with a diagnosis of diabetes. The liability, labor, and additional service options make higher charges necessary. Diabetic care requires extra RN delegations, training, and oversight.
Questions to Ask
Does the assisted living you’re considering offer diabetic management and care? If so, ask these additional follow up questions to ensure it’s the right place for you.
What foot care services are offered?
About 15% of diabetics develop foot ulcers or wounds that won’t heal. Open sores can lead to infection and, left untreated, to death.
Ask the assisted living about foot care services offered. Some communities have services come in. Others require the resident make all their own arrangements.
If they do offer foot care in-house, get more information on the service. Diabetics usually need an RN specialist or licensed podiatrist. Some services accept insurance reimbursement. Others you pay out-of-pocket.
How are medications and injections delivered?
The medication delivery process varies from facility to facility. Assisted living facilities can have medication carts and bring meds to each apartment. Others require residents come to a central medication room for blood glucose draws and injections. Oral medications taken with food may be delivered in the dining room.
Now days, more communities are requiring insulin dependent residents use pre-measured insulin pens. Some will accommodate sliding-scale protocols and others will not. Facilities may may only accept diet controlled diabetics or those taking only oral medication.
How do the menus accommodate a diabetic diet?
Assisted living communities offer menus with choices. They must follow government guidelines for balanced diets. Diabetic sugar-free options must be available.
Menus generally have a daily special, an alternate special, and every day options. Some examples of every day menu items: grilled cheese, chef salad, soup and sandwich, etc.
Assisted living is designed for autonomy and lifestyle choices. Diabetic residents can choose menu items that aren’t healthy for them. They can choose the regular ice cream or the sugar-free. Residents can substitute mashed potatoes for extra salad or vegetables. They can skip the rolls and crackers. Or not. No one will stop them or control their choices.
It’s great having choices. But ask about the quality of choices. Are there fresh salads or a salad bar? Are vegetables a small overcooked portion? What are the quality of starches offered? Can meat dishes come without sauces and gravies?
Before making any final decision about an assisted living, study the menus. Visit during meal times. Eat a few meals. Make sure the menu choices match your diet needs.
Diabetes is serious. Getting good care and management can control its progression. The best outcomes happen when you understand diabetic services in assisted living. Make sure clear communication about care plans begins before a move-in choice is made.
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