December 2, 2011

How to Educate Those That Do Not Want to Learn

I am going to start this topic and maybe others will be able to help me along the way.  Yes, how do you educate people with type 2 diabetes that refuse to learn, or for that matter tune you out? I have had minor successes along the way, but few as difficult as one gentleman that just refused to listen or pay attention to anything I said for almost a year. He told me point blank that if he wanted information, he would ask his doctor.

Okay, a small crack in the armor was showing itself. I started asking him questions about what his doctor was telling him. How often does he see the doctor? Answer: once a year. What medications was he taking? No Answer. How old was he? Answer: 73. Did he feel like he was seeing the doctor often enough? Answer: No. How often did he think he should see the doctor? Answer: at least once a quarter. Was he getting his questions answered? Answer: No. How long had he had diabetes? Answer: almost 4 years.

I kept the questions flowing and got very short answers, but I had him talking and thinking and I came back to some of the above questions and got mostly the same answers. I then asked him if he would like some of his questions answered? Surprise, he answered yes. So, I asked what he asked that he never had answered. Again a surprise. He asked what he should be eating with diabetes? Now we were getting somewhere.

I again asked him if he had seen a dietitian on referral from the doctor? Answer: No. Had he ever asked for a referral? Answer: No, and he asked was this possible and would his insurance pay for it. My answer, it should be possible and Medicare does cover it in most cases. Now the tables turned and he was asking the questions. I answered them to the best of my ability and did get a question in. Did he use a computer? He looked at me surprised and said, yes. I asked him if he did any research on the computer? Now I had a questioning look and no for an answer. He stated that all he used it for was emails with his children and grandchildren.

His three children had purchased a computer for him and only showed him to use email. I asked him if he wanted to learn more. He asked, like what? At that point, I asked him if this was something his children wanted him to do. So we went to his home and he sent them an email. The answers back were yes, that is what they had hoped he would do on the computer and find answers he was not getting from his doctor.

Now he was full of questions and wanted answers. So I examined the computer and found out what he had and how much storage he had. Plenty, I could only dream about this for a computer. I asked him if he had finances for a few tools and he answered yes. So we started looking and I found several programs he should be able to use, a virus checker, and several other tools. I explored what he had on the computer for programs and found several programs that he could learn and set them up so he could access them and at least explore and become familiar with them. I downloaded a free program and set that up for him to use. I also showed him several sites and he did bookmark them to go back and look at them and possibly subscribe to their free newsletters.

I knew I had a book for one of the programs, so I offered to lend it to him. He accepted and said it would be a big help. I promised to return and help him on another day. I left him with my email address and telephone number. He is now full of questions and I will admit I am enjoying my time with him and educating him about diabetes, via email, at his home, and on the telephone.

Yes, he is now a willing student, and set to see his doctor quarterly. He has an appointment with a dietitian knowledgeable about diabetes. I know my method worked this time, but I have not been able to get it to work on any other persons. I keep hoping to find a way, but of the several tactics I have tried, none have succeeded. So if anyone has other suggestions, please let me know. One person does not have a computer and as such, I am working on getting him to work with my first friend, but he does not want to do this.

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