How to Help Seniors Cope with Peripheral Neuropathy
June 27, 2019
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
As a family caregiver, it’s tough to watch your loved one deal with pain. Diabetic neuropathy is a type of pain that is difficult to resolve since it involves your loved one’s nervous system. Your loved one might have a few emotional reactions to neuropathy as well that make the situation more complicated.
4 Tips for Helping Seniors Cope with Peripheral Neuropathy
1. Talk to Your Loved One’s Doctor
The very first thing to do when you realize that your loved one is having problems with his neuropathy is to talk to his doctor. Your loved one’s doctor may be able to find medication that can help or he can suggest other tools or techniques that can help. Blood sugar control is really important when it comes to dealing with neuropathy and your loved one’s doctor may have other ideas for helping your loved one keep his sugar levels under control.
2. Set Reasonable Goals
Your loved one is going to have good days and bad days, so it’s important to keep that in mind. Try to convince your loved one not to push himself too hard when he’s not feeling up to doing certain things. It’s also important that your loved one doesn’t beat himself up when he’s not able to do something that he thinks he should be able to do without pain. The gentler he is with himself on the bad days, the better off he’ll be on his good days.
3. Make Stress Relief a Priority
Stress relief and relaxation activities can really help your loved one to deal with the emotional and mental aspects of dealing with neuropathy. Your loved one may find it easier to write in a journal or talk to other people who are also dealing with neuropathy. Whatever helps him to manage his stress can also help him to manage his pain levels when his neuropathy flares up.
4. Avoid Alcohol and Smoking
Both smoking and alcohol can make quite a few health conditions worse, and neuropathy is no exception. If your loved one smokes or indulges in alcohol, it’s a good idea to help him cut back if he can’t quit altogether. This can be complicated, of course, especially if he’s been smoking or drinking for a long time with no other ill effects. Work with his doctor to find a way to cut back without causing your loved one too much stress.
Neuropathy because diabetes can be painful, but you can help your loved one to manage it.
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