A parent mentor for a pediatric diabetes clinic shares what works for her and her family.
Incorporating a new medical routine into your daily life takes conscious work. I found this out firsthand when I started taking (non-diabetes) medication daily several years ago. I struggled to remember to routinely take the medicine, and once I did take it, I had trouble remembering if I had done so.
At first, I put the medication on my bathroom counter, hoping to remember to take it each morning, but that wasn’t enough. It wasn’t until I mentally linked taking the medication with brushing my teeth each morning, and flipping the bottle over for a visible sign that I had taken it, that I found a routine that worked. I flip it back over in the evening when I brush my teeth before bed to prime the system for the next day.
As a parent mentor and a quality improvement team-member for diabetes clinics, I often meet new diabetes families who struggle to remember to give Lantus regularly or get in enough BG checks in a day. One of the first questions I ask them is what they are doing when they remember and what is different about the days when they forget. The discussion leads to follow-up questions like, “If you take your Lantus at dinnertime, do you keep it in the kitchen? Do you put it in the drawer with the silverware, so it gets put on the table when the table gets set?” and “If you regularly forget to do a bedtime blood sugar check, do you have a meter on the nightstand in the bedroom? Can the meter rest on top of the iPhone charge outlet or alarm clock?”
There is no one right way to remember to check BG or to take insulin or other medications. However, the process of remembering will become easier if you develop a way to include visual reminders of what you need to do in your daily life, and if you create a routine that works with your schedule.
Here’s one resource to try: I created a medication reminder sheet as one way for families to have a visible reminder and encourage them to post it on the refrigerator or put it in a place that they see multiple times a day. You can download it and print it off by clicking here: Editable-Med-Reminder-Sheet-1
We’d like to hear from you. What routines have you developed to help you with your blood sugar management? Comment below with your suggestions.
Melissa Anderson and her husband, Tidepool founder Howard Look, are the parents of three adult children, one of whom has type one diabetes. Melissa is a member of the diabetes Quality Improvement (QI) team at Stanford Children’s Hospital and works part-time as a parent mentor in the pediatric diabetes clinic. She also co-leads their Diabetes Family Advisory Council along with RN & CDE Jeannine Leverenz, another member of the Stanford QI team.