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My mother is diabetic. Tonight she took her blood sugar before going to bed. It was 165 -- a bit low for her pre-sleep glucose. I suggested she get a snack before retiring. She asked me if I knew what to do if she died during the night. I said yes, but wouldn't it be easier to just get a snack. She said that she didn't want anything to eat because it made her fatter, which made her sugar go up.

This last week has been the worst. Her logic is so twisted now that I have difficulty getting her to do what she needs to. She tells me she won't do something Earlier this evening she had taken her blood sugar -- why I don't know, since it was after dinner. She told me it was 195, so I needed to call the doctor's office. I told her that it was Saturday night. She asked me what difference did that make. I should call him unless I wanted her to die. I reassured her that 195 was not a bad after-dinner glucose, but she didn't believe me.

So now I wondering if she think normal is high, and if she will be endangering herself with hypoglycemia trying to get it lower. And I'm also worried about the effect that the stress of caring for her is having on me. We have an appointment with the geriatric clinic at the University on Monday morning. I hope that they will be able to help her or at least help me get through this.

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Flora, thanks for the info. I have cared for diabetics and watched them inject themselves. For him, even testing would cause a tide of complaints. I guess I should get going on a healthier diet to postpone that evil day as long as possible.
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Jinx,
If it's the very word 'needle' that sets him off, this may not relate. But too many sources that should know better say things like "Diabetics have to inject insulin INTO THEIR STOMACH." Which would mean a big long needle doing something dangerous.

The fact is that what's used is the fat layer that covers most people's abdomen (aka 'ugly belly fat'). Really, fat at any location can be used, if it's thick and soft and floppy enough. Insulin needs to go into fat rather than into the muscle like ordinary shots. So the insulin needles are very small, very short. Even so, the person pinches up a wrinkle of fat to put the shot into, so there is no possible danger of it going through the fat into tissue below.
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jessie -I thought the "fairly healthy and with a life of our own" was not dire. - the others - yes. Unfortunately some of what I read here points to those scenarios, and also in the direction of caregivers not having financial resources for their own senior years. Personally, I have had to, and still have to, make some tough decisions to keep my life on track. I wish you well re the dementia - not exactly a Golden Girls scene.
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Oh, goodness! That sounds dire. Chances are that most likely I will keep my mother here until I can't anymore. When she dies, I will move to a senior community and live the Golden Girl life. If I'm lucky, I'll find a good-spirited gentleman to spend time with. If not, I'll sit around and gripe with my girlfriends. That sounds more like what will happen with me in the end. The thing I worry about most for myself is dementia, since both my father and mother have/had it. That will really put a monkey wrench in everything.
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Yes we know how it will, end up in that we all will die. Those with dementia will get worse before they die unless something else intervenes. However, we do have some control about how we ourselves will end up - burnt out totally from caregiving which has given us with health issues of our own, broke and with no resources as we have given up our lives to care give,fairly healthy and with a life of our own - there are different scenarios as to how we end up once our parent passes and we do have some choices in that matter.
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We all know how it will end up and none of us really like it! How we wish we could stall or push back the hands of time.
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Jessie this is so stressful im in same boat as you know but her meds are starting to become a real worry. She knows she takes her insulin then eats now shes taking the insulin and not eating im so stressed now as MORE pressure to control her insulin ive just spoken to my bro and told him that if this isnt addressed Emo is right its a home and 24/7 med care unless we can take complete control of this its so dangerous im not sleeping well worrying about her but she will not hand over the meds to me she thinks I treat her like an idiot but this is so serious and we both may have to get the doctors to advise on this i just dont think i can cope with this huge resposibility on top of the dementia am going nuts monitoring her constantly.
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Thank you for your concern. This thread was resurrected from earlier this year, so fortunately all this is worked out now. My mother is a difficult person made more difficult by the dementia. I am just taking it one day at a time now. I don't know how everything is going to end up. I guess it is how most of us feel.
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Jessie - is it time to start thinking about placing your mum where trained staff can deal with her and her diabetes 24/7? Caregiving seems to be taking a toll on you more and more. The difficulties with your mum will likely only increase. I know she would resist going, but other have managed to make this transition, even with someone who resists.
You say you are worried about the effect the stress of caregiving is having on you. Considering the posts of yours that I have read over the past year, I have that concern too. You are young, by my standards, and can have many years ahead. Please do not let caregiving harm your health any more than it already has. Even at a distance and with my mother in an ALF, the stress she causes affects my health. I have been struggling with various bugs since August, having had a very difficult summer with her. Before that I was doing well. I managed the stress better physically in my 60's but once I hit the 70's things have been different. Could your mum live another 5-10 years? Could you keep caregiving for that long, with her health and yours declining? Please give this serious thought. I am concerned for you. ((((((((hugs))))))).
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Diabetes is worth worrying about; the damage to brain, skin, muscle, kidney, eye, heart is beyond belief the longer it goes on badly controlled. And Veronica, I otherwise love the post but most of us couldn't slap our momma and stick a carrot in their mouth, though it would probably be really good for them. :-) The exercise and weight loss can in fact reduce insulin resistance enough to cure a true type II case or at least delay it, but it takes a lot of commitment and energy to fight the excess appetite that most of us at high risk or actually in any stage of it experience. Switching over to lower fat and sugar ice cream can be a huge help, you can find tasty choices at 100 calories per half cup or less and *very* tasty at 120 or less, while some of the unmodified full fat ones can be 200-300 calories or more instead. And the medications used make a difference. Insulin alone tends to increase weight and appetite, unless you can possibly get detemir. My mom finally stopped stashing and eating sugar packets daily when she was started on on Januvia, but other meds we tried before that did not agree with her or did nothing.The first step towards a better quality of life with diabetes for my mom was actually finding a new doctor who was not content with sugars over 200 and just giving more insulin, while watching her gain weight and making the whole thing even worse. She felt like she was starving all the time - whether her sugar was 120 or 380 - and in a sense she was - the insulin resistance meant nothing was getting into her cells. If she felt bad, she'd assume that meant her sugar was low and would just gobble down some candy or sugar packets without even testing. Her A1c was as high as 14 at one point. The second step was getting her sugar free candy, and getting friend and neighbors to collaborate on that.

I've lost my mom and some dear friends to this disease and its complications...it is so common people do not think much of it, my mom for many years just gave herself a little insulin twice a day and did not even check her sugars, did not eat well or exercise, and once even said to me that you can't really manage diabetes, you just live with it! This is genuinely not true..we eventually got my mom on good enough management that we saved her from losing her chronically infected toe or even her foot after the third or fourth episode of cellulitis, but too much damage was already done to heart and brain to reverse those things, which were what cost her her independence and ultimately took her away from us.
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@Veronica91, Yes, his mother, uncles and half sister are/were all diabetic. He was prediabetic or diabetic, but went on a health and exercise binge and lost 60 pounds, which "cured" him.

Before that he was a greedy eater, and he's becoming a greedy eater again. He has regained 25 or so pounds. He's early enough in the disease that he can go out and get what he wants, and he is not very biddable. He dislikes fruit. Fortunately, he does like cooked vegetables, so that's a way to fill him up with health. Later, he'll have a dish of ice cream. An hour later, he'll want a second one, because he doesn't remember the first one.

I think my strategy will have to be 8 (healthy-ish) mini-meals or snacks a day, because he does love to nosh. I get demoralized just thinking about it. I know, I'm a wimp.
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Look online - you can find tables that show what 'good' readings are - pre meal and post meal.

Keep good snacks on hand - cheese w/apples, Greek yogurt, etc. My mother in law manages to keep hers in decent control with morning pre meal readings averaging 140. She only tests in the morning before breakfast.

She will have problems with hypoglycemia if she takes her evening diabetes meds and does not eat a proper evening meal. We have to remind her regularly NOT to take her evening 'sugar pill' if she doesn't feel like eating supper. They forget and take their meds no matter what - or at least my MIL does (most of the time).
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Jinx, why are you worrying about diabetes. Does he have close relatives with it or is it just the over eating and weight gain. You can keep only healthy foods in the house and limit sugary beverages. if diabetes actually developes yes I think a poster would help as long as he was still able to comprehend the instructions. As for the fear of needles I can not help you there. I had horses that were terrified and we'd just give them a slap on the neck and they never knew the needle went in then slap a carrot in their mouth
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That's one of my nightmares about my husband. With dementia, he is eating more, and he never was what you would call "biddable." He's a very intelligent man, and will want to be in control, without having the ability to keep the relevant data in his mind. If he goes on to develop diabetes, with his horror of needles, he will resist both testing his blood and using insulin.

Is there a chance a sign or poster might help? "If blood sugar is over 200 then .... At bedtime, if blood sugar is below 175 then.... "
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There are worse things but this is certainly bad enough. You have my sympathy, and prayers for the upcoming medical visit to be especially helpful and supportive, you both need it!
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Thank you, vstefans. At her age, I am definitely more worried about nighttime hypoglycemia than I am about tight control. I like for her to have a count of over 175 before she goes to bed because she drops so much during the night. She woke up last night with a glucose of 75, so got a snack in the middle of the night.I am glad she woke up before it got lower. We had two hypoglycemic episodes in recent months. They are not fun and of course can be lethal if we don't catch them.

I can't think of a worse combination than diabetes, dementia, and combative behavior. My mother has occasional glucose peaks of around 300, but it is not often and we can usually bring it down fairly quickly with diet and exercise. At her age, if it is under 200 during the day I don't worry. Her doctors have also been comfortable with it. I do worry about the nighttime hypoglycemia, though. Last night I couldn't sleep until I heard her get up to go to the bathroom and check her glucose.
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Absolutely get guidelines from a professional third party. There is a lot of controversy on tight control vs risk of hypoglycemia for type 2. And to a degree it depends on the types of meds, whether or not they are ones that out her more at risk for uncompensated hypoglycemia or not. BUT, this conversation with Mom is not so much about diabetes as it is about her being afraid of dying. While you are there, see if a chaplain and/ or psychologist can begin to talk to her about that too.

Calling about a sugar of 195 would not have made sense, but I if I had not been able to avoid diabetes by diet and exercise with weight loss, I'd be opting for fairly tight control too, to stave off complications...find out some parameters, find out a target hemoglobinA1c range and hopefully get the level of concern into a saner perspective.
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