Caregivers and diabetes prevention are connected as health care professionals take care of the elderly as well as the disabled who suffer from this lifelong condition.
That’s why Gov. Ralph DLG Torres concurrently declared November as the month honoring caregivers and Diabetes Prevention and Awareness Month.
Torres signed both proclamations yesterday with officials and members of nonprofit group Ayuda Network Inc., the organization coordinating the various activities for the whole month, and their partners in the government and private sectors in attendance at the Governor’s Office conference room.
Torres said it has been part of the CNMI culture of taking care of the elderly especially those who are sick. “Both proclamations go hand in hand with caregivers taking care of folks who have diabetes. Caregivers sometimes put aside their personal life for their patients.”
He recalled a time when his grandfather and father were hospitalized in the mainland where doctors and nurses continuously reminded them of the number of visitors allowed inside the room. “We really appreciate our family and friends who visited our dad and grandfather day in and day out.”
Torres added that he would also take an extra effort to follow a healthy diet to lead by example. “It is not easy for us especially if the food served in parties and other gatherings tastes good. But we must take the extra effort to have a healthy lifestyle to control and prevent diabetes.”
Diabetes is an illness that can lead to amputations, blindness, kidney failure, and also contributes to heart attacks, strokes, hypertension, and cancer. The Dialysis Center of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. in 2012 reported a 126-percent increase in new patients that are suffering from the renal disease compared to the previous year.
Majority of patients that undergo treatment have Type II diabetes and suffer from hypertension. The high rate of cases in the CNMI just shows the need to increase effort to raise awareness and to be creative in formulating programs to combat the illness in the Commonwealth.
Caregivers, meanwhile, experience emotional and physical stress in dealing with the various responsibilities they do in taking care of their patients. The stress puts the caregiver at a higher risk for health issues.
The proclamation declaring National Family Caregivers Month aims to promote nutritious eating for the people who take care of the sick and elderly. The family caregiver must also pay attention to their own physical and mental health and get proper rest and nutrition so they could perform their duties to the best of their ability.