March 13, 2013

Group Education Benefits the Elderly – Part 2

Part 2 of 2 Parts

I for one am very glad to see this study from the last blog. This exemplifies what I have seen in our local peer-to-peer group (ages 57 to 76). Those that have needed the companionship of the group and the learning experience have been able to obtain it. Allen has been very expressive in his thanks when a few of us recognized that he needed to be tested for vitamin deficiencies. He now says that he was not ready to leave his doctor, but that we proved to him the necessity of making the change when his doctor would not do the testing for vitamin deficiencies.

He has thanked us profusely for saving his life and making him feel so much more healthy. His A1c's had not been that high, but in the low 6's. His blood glucose levels are now almost always under 140 mg/dl and his A1c's are now below 6.0% and he has only had one episode of hypoglycemia. He is still attempting to get his two friends involved, but they are not interested yet.

Barry has also expressed his thanks for what the group did for his brother Ben when he was suffering from depression. Even their sister Sue has been very thankful for the group and what we have done for each other. Being the only one on no medications has been great for her because she says that the whole group has been so supportive. She also thanks us for not having held it against her for her diabetes police tactics before she was diagnosed.

Even other members of the group are happy that we can get together, no matter what our age is and openly discuss topics and help each other. That is why this study became the topic of our discussion at the last meeting. Even Brenda was happy to have the full copy of the study to read. She wanted to know how I had gotten it. Tim always has his laptop and A.J. had his, so this made it easier to pull up the relevant sites and I showed everyone how I had found whom to contact. I said I had written the contact person an email and had received a copy the following Monday. I had shown it to a few people and then printed copies for the meeting.

I then showed those that were interested that sometimes this becomes impossible because there are not email addresses available even using the single and batch search at this site. Barry asked if I wanted help in the future and I said I would take any help offered. Ben commented that with Barry's help and help from the rest of us that even he was enjoying searching for diabetes articles. He felt more like a contributing member of the group rather than just soaking up information from the rest of us. This got us off topic in discussing learning or contributing and everyone thought that the more that wanted to contribute, the stronger the group would become.

Tim agreed and said he would work with Barry, A.J., and myself to help people that wanted to learn best methods of research and then if someone had a particular interest in a topic, then they could do the research and present it in a group gathering. Tim said that my blog of February 8 was a good place to start as he had bookmarked most of the sites and the rest should reread it and see where it could help them. He then said that if someone had a website that was good for this, to send it to him and he would collect them and forward them to me for inclusion in another blog so that everyone could have them available.

The study for us was in many respects an eye opener and made all of us happy to be part of a group that helped each other. We all agreed that we had learning to do and several asked that my cousin be invited to the next meeting to talk about nutrition. Jessie asked what this would mean and the rest of the new people were curious as well. Tim explained that my cousin was a person with a nutrition degree and worked with different doctors around the area and did some nutrition counseling as well.

John asked if she was a registered dietitian. Allen said no, that she worked at the level the patient was at and was more interested in balancing the nutrition than in pushing carbohydrates. Brenda said that she will get your insurance information so that if you wish a one on one consultation, she will bill your Medicare account or insurance company information. She also stated that there may be a co-pay up front. Otherwise, she will just speak to the group and answer a few questions about nutrition. I stated that there is no pressure to have a consultation. Allen quietly explained how she had helped him and worked with his doctor to get him the nutrition assistance he needed. He did explain that she had urged him to take some supplements because of the foods he was not eating.

Jason said he appreciated her for making suggestions of what foods to eat, but he said she only makes suggestions and if you hesitate, she will make other suggestions looking for ideas that will help supply foods that will balance the nutrition. If something is still short, she will recommend a supplement. He said that he is eating less carbs, but has better overall nutrition and a few supplements. He continued saying that his doctor is surprised that he has no vitamin or mineral deficiencies and is well within the normal range.

Rob and Max admitted they had not had any consultations with her, but Max admitted that now that he was on Medicare, he was thinking seriously about it since Medicare did allow this and even promoted it. Elaine commented that it was good to be in the group if this was what the group promoted, yet did not apply pressure to have people do things that did cost money unless they wanted this. She said that the study had interested her and she felt that these were good to have available when the group got together. She asked if her husband could attend occasionally. Sue said sure, that her husband was unable to make this meeting, but that he was normally present.

Because we are now at 14 members, Tim suggested that it was becoming more difficult for people to meet in some homes. Both Jessie and Elaine said they could accommodate this many and a few more. Allen asked if we could converse with his two friends and convince them to come. When he mentioned their names, Jessie said both were neighbors and she would be happy to talk with them. Elaine said that if Jessie was not successful, her husband might talk to them, as he knew them.

Rob said he could accommodate possibly three or four more and Max admitted that he could only handle two more and if husbands were there, he would not have room. I suggested that we inquire around and see what might be available for our growing group. Tim suggested churches and I said I would check at the hospital and city hall. We finished on that thought.

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