Managing Young Adults Living on Their Own
Preparing for the time when your young adult goes off to college or moves out on his or her own can put pressure on both of you. But there are things you both can do to make this change easier.
Make sure your young adult with diabetes has mastered:
- Filling prescriptions and ordering supplies before they run out
- Checking insulin and taking medicine on his or her own
- Having supplies on hand to manage low blood sugar
- Paying for medicine and supplies and/or arranging for payment to be made through insurance
- Adjusting the amount of insulin based on eating, activity, and blood sugar patterns
- Making appointments with the diabetes care team
- Asking the diabetes care team questions and sharing any concerns about diabetes care
- Telling the diabetes care team how he or she has been feeling
Whether your young adult is going to college or is moving into an apartment, it's a good idea for everyone with diabetes to have a diabetes kit that will keep supplies in one spot. The kit should include a blood sugar monitor and strips, insulin, syringes, and pump supplies or extra pens. It should also have a sharps container, prescriptions for insulin and supplies, and whatever source of sugar your young adult likes to use to treat low blood sugar events. If medically appropriate, he or she should also carry glucagon emergency medicine. It is important for him or her to train a few people who are around them the most in how to use it.
If they aren't wearing one already, young adults should think about wearing a medical alert ID. If they don’t like the idea, remind them that if they ever pass out because of a low blood sugar event, wearing an ID could save their life.
At your young adult’s last appointment with his or her childhood care team, have him or her get the previous team’s business cards to share with the new team. This can help make the change in care smoother.
- Decide whom to tell about their diabetes, and what to tell them
- Visit the student health center and find out how to get help at night, on the weekend, or in an emergency
- Go to the cafeteria or other places on campus where food is served and get nutrition information. Your young adult may decide to stock his or her room with diabetes-friendly foods
- Prepare a sick-day kit for the dorm room. This kit should include the guidelines from the care team on how to adjust insulin as well as ketone strips, a thermometer, and bland foods and drinks