Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman
2 min readFeb 14, 2023

Topic: Sharing Valentine’s Day With Elderly Loved Ones

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love! February 14th is Valentine’s Day. What better way to show love is on this day? May I ask you to be mindful of those sweet treats that we love to give on “Love Day”…you know candy, donuts, cupcakes, and chocolate chip cookies…Yummy!

What chronic condition comes to mind that one must pay attention to? Diabetes, Type I, also known as insulin-dependent where the pancreas doesn’t make insulin or makes very little insulin)and Type 2(considered a lifelong chronic disease that keeps your body from using insulin the way it should). Needless to say, both of these diseases are not Valentine’s Day-friendly. How else might we show appreciation to those we love, especially our elderly loved ones? Spending quality time with the important people in our life on special occasions, especially in the African American family, who holds traditions close, like mashed potatoes and gravy with smothered pork chops(ooooh I just made myself hungry)…they go together.

Sweets eaten in access with a chronic disease like diabetes can create problems and show up with complications over time. What I am saying is that eliminating sugar altogether is not realistic! A sweet treat is OK from time to time. Choosing the healthiest of them is more important. There are ways to do that!

Sweet Treats for Your Love Ones

All is not lost! To satisfy the sweet tooth of our loved ones with diabetes choose desserts, candy, and drinks made with sugar substitutes. Artificial sweeteners have no carbs or calories, so you don’t need to count them in your meal. Here are some interesting ideas.

1. Exchange carbohydrates

*If you want to eat something sweet, you might want to skip the starch in a meal to keep your total carbs in check.

2. Small portions

*Select a smaller portion of sweet treats so you can still enjoy sweet treats while maintaining the right amounts of carbohydrates for the meal. Please make sure you know the proper amount of carbohydrates for your loved ones. Seek your healthcare professional for guidance.

3. Fruits over deserts

*Fruit is one of the best deserts for loved ones with diabetes. This is also a great selection for non-diabetics.

4. Skip the sweet treats

*Go for flowers, a movie(at home or theater), a pedicure or manicure or even reading to your loved one!

As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, the bottom line is eating too much sugar is problematic. Keeping track of sugar intake is important. A healthy portion of sweet treats is what is significant. Just remember, moderation in all that we do is the highlight of this discussion. If you’re having trouble keeping your loved one’s blood sugar under control, speak with a healthcare professional. Be safe! Be well!

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Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Hickman is the author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor and The Black Book of Important for Caregivers.