You know what comes with a child who is diabetic. MOM GUILT. And I guess it’s more so parent guilt, but as mom’s we like to feel like we’re special.
But that guilt starts when you are presented with the diagnosis. The thoughts start running through your head, “what did I do wrong?” “Was it something I did when I was pregnant?” “I should have caught it sooner, maybe we could have done something!” All of those thoughts we know LOGICALLY are all untrue. But emotions are so much stronger than logic sometimes, and we feel like we have put our child in this position.
Then, there is the guilt around watching them poked and prodded every day. My son, Logan, wanted nothing to do with an insulin pump for almost two years after he was diagnosed. I think mostly because he saw his daddy take shots and prick his finger every day, so that was “normal” to him, he wasn’t about to try something unknown right now. And Logan was amazing and at six years old refused to allow anyone else do his shots but him. But the pit in my throat each time I had to wake him up because he fell asleep early to take his insulin, and the meltdowns that would ensue were perfect for the “mom guilt” to build up.
Or, when he wanted to go to a friend’s house, and I had to talk to the parents and explain that he was diabetic and that he couldn’t really have any snacks. And then the guilt of almost getting his sugar higher than I would like it, just to avoid him going low when I wasn’t around. Guilt, Guilt, Guilt.
But…when those moment of guilt came up, there were almost always moments of intense PRIDE. I am proud of Logan because he still gets up every day to be a regular kid. The only person that is going to give him limitations is me, and he is sure to tell me that too! He was giving himself 5-6 shots a DAY at the age of SIX!!! How could I NOT be proud of that kid!
So, when those emotions come; when the guilt, or the anger or sadness come up, remember:
You get to choose how you feel.
You get to choose whether or not you want to feel that way.
And no matter what you choose, it doesn’t make you any less of an amazing parent.
You get to choose how long you feel that way. When you are thinking how it’s not fair, and that makes you feel sad or guilty.
How willing would you be to try something different?
What if you thought: “how can I make my son/daughter know I love them today?” How does that make you feel?
I would encourage you to go with that. It’s going to do you both a lot of good.
When Logan was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in January 2018 at the age of six, it kind of felt like “what else is going to happen to us?!” My husband Andrew, who is also Type 1 diabetic, had been involved in a farm accident in December 2014 and lost his left leg. We had been facing one uphill battle after another with his recovery, including 2 battles with MRSA. At the time of Andrew’s accident, we had Logan, who was three, and his sister, Addison, who was just 4-months old. I worked full-time and I was thrust into the role of a full-time caregiver along with the role of wife and mother. Now, just as we felt like we were turning a corner, Andrew just knew something wasn’t right.
So, we traveled that heart-crushing road of tests and diagnosis. We went to the lab for blood work where we had to hold Logan down while he screamed because he was so scared. We spent the night in the hospital and explained to him that he was going to take shots like Daddy did.
Don’t get me wrong, I am eternally grateful that we had as much knowledge as we did about this disease and that Logan has his “role model” of a dad to see that he can do this. But it felt like life was kicking us when we were down. Especially when Logan says, “I don’t want to be diabetic anymore.” I mean, insert the dagger right in Mommy’s heart!
But rather than let this journey of life break me down and define me, I chose to let it empower me. I was not going to allow myself, and my family, to be victims. I chose that these experiences in life, as challenging and mind-blowing as they were, gave me the gift of being a caregiver. And the gift to support and empower other parents and caregivers who are experiencing all of these frightening unknowns and don’t know how to manage it all.
Fast forward to 2020: Logan is eight, he played football for the first time last fall and is just getting started on his Omnipod pump! Andrew has been back to work on the farm. Addison is five and will make a fabulous nurse or doctor some day with all the medical stuff she has seen! And I am driven to empower and educate with our story and my message. No matter how unfair or awful it may seem, let your story empower you.
In September 2019, LifeCare Alliance was awarded a 3-year $750,000 grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Community Living (ACL) to expand our innovative model of care. While this model has been piloted and in progress since June of 2018, the grant will allow us to increase internal case management and referral infrastructure, collect health outcome data to measure the effectiveness of LifeCare Alliance interventions, and complete a thorough evaluation of collected data. Once concluded, LifeCare Alliance will publish and disseminate the findings to seek reimbursement for our holistic, one-stop-shop service model. Ultimately, the goal is to produce research that will allow for replication of our model across the nation.
Certainly, agency volunteers, staff, and supporters know firsthand the incredible impact of our services, as they partner in serving clients 365 days a year; however, the ability to quantify the successful outcomes and results will pave the way for future sustainability, relevance, and leverage in the ever-changing healthcare industry. This innovative network of referrals and information sharing is for clients who frequently depend on emergency services for basic needs. This innovation is critical to ensuring that members of our community can age safely in place through a collaborative approach to care.
Meet Jerry and Marsha:
Jerry and Marsha, who live with the challenges of diabetes, were referred by their physician for an in-home consultation with LifeCare Alliance’s registered dietitian. The couple, 74 and 68 years old, respectively, deal with many health concerns that began about a year ago. During that time, Marsha suffered a collapsed lung during surgery. A month later, she tried the surgery again, but this time it was even worse—her organs began to shut down and her surgery was delayed again. During Marsha’s healing process, they learned that Jerry needed back surgery and a pacemaker. Because Jerry was Marsha’s only caregiver, this presented a challenge. That’s when Marsha contacted LifeCare Alliance’s Meals-on-Wheels program to sign up for the frozen meal program.
“Meals-on-Wheels saved us,” said Marsha. “Jerry and I are both diabetic, and we learned we could have a registered dietitian come to our home to help with meal planning as clients of LifeCare Alliance, we both took advantage of the service. Now we know how to take control of our carbs and plan our meals with confidence.”
Jerry and Marsha are one story of many positive outcomes of Food 911: How Meals-on-Wheels Redefines Population Health. The impact of remaining together, independent, and in their own home—where they want to be—is significant, especially during this holiday season.
Meet the Faces of Innovation:
Molly Haroz, Director of Nutrition Programs, and Melinda Rowe, Wellness Services Director, are part of the incredible team at LifeCare Alliance that is implementing this innovative project. Understanding the challenges that many of our older adult neighbors face every day to maintain a healthy independent lifestyle, with dignity in the comfort of their own homes, the two directors have worked closely together to lay the groundwork that led to receiving the grant.
We know that the need is great! There are still many in our community—including older adults, medical professionals, first responders, and insurance and health systems—who are not yet aware of this innovative approach. We are eager to continue spreading the word to help intercept those who are managing chronic, or even crisis, health situations. During the pilot process, we have seen that the majority of these citizens call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room to receive help with food, home repairs, etc.—services which hospital or paramedics are unable to fulfill. LifeCare Alliance’s goal is to make sure that our neighbors in need do not slip through the cracks, as they navigate complex health situations. By partnering with local fire departments and healthcare providers to refer “frequent flyers” or repeat visitors for ongoing in-home services, we are able to welcome new clients through our comprehensive array of health and nutrition programming.
Randy Little, Fire Chief of the Jackson Township Fire Department in Grove City, Ohio said of the initiative, “we have seen anecdotally how valuable LifeCare Alliance’s services are to our township residents and we look forward to continuing to grow and enhance our partnership, especially since we’ve seen such improvements in the lives of those we have referred to LifeCare Alliance.”
Tim Hill, Regional Manager-Ohio East of American Health Network of Ohio, LLC, said, “our patients come to our providers repeatedly for the same types of injuries that could have been prevented with proper nutrition, homemaking help, or even simple home repairs such as grab bar installations. We have found that when needs are met, elderly patients often can function safely in their own homes without making multiple visits to our healthcare facilities on a weekly or monthly basis.”
Our heartfelt thanks to you, our supporters, who help make it possible for LifeCare Alliance to be innovative in meeting the needs of more than 30,000 clients each year. We look forward to sharing continued updates about the progress of this exciting project!
Since 1951, the Ingram-White Castle Foundation has been providing “nourishment to those throughout central Ohio who hunger for knowledge, independence, and self-sufficiency.” The Foundation further believes that young people should be able to realize their full potential. At CODA’s camp program, children with diabetes experience all of the above.
CODA camp programs include:
- Camp Hamwi, the weeklong, residential program for children ages 7-17
- Stepping Stones Camp, a transitional day camp with one overnight outing for children ages 8-12 new to the summer camp experience
- Kids Day Camp for children ages 3-7, and their parents.
At camp, participants learn to manage their disease, avoid its complications, and improve their health with the education and skills they learn. Camp programs teach skills that significantly decrease the risk of heart attacks, strokes, amputations, kidney disease, and vision loss. These risks can be reduced by up to two-thirds if detected early. There are many components to managing diabetes and preventing its progression, but none more important than education provided in a way that individuals grasp and use. Without the education necessary to care for one’s condition, diabetes will progress.
One such child that has benefited from multiple CODA camps is Samantha. Samantha was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was only 9 months old. She grew up without knowing many other kids with diabetes, but that experience changed when she went to Stepping Stones. Samantha shares, “At Stepping Stones, I learned that I’m not the only diabetic, and there are other people that are going through the same thing as me.” Her experience at Stepping Stones laid such an impact on her that she has gone on to attend Camp Hamwi for the last few years.
Because of supporters like the Ingram-White Castle Foundation, campers like Samantha are able to develop a personal diabetes management plan that includes a healthy meal plan, regular physical exercise, regular checks of blood glucose levels, and taking diabetes medications as prescribed. Also, as Samantha mentioned, going to camp helps children with diabetes no longer feel isolated, and gives them an environment where they can cultivate friendships that last a lifetime.
Thank you to the Ingram-White Castle Foundation for helping children with diabetes live their best life!
Have you ever been to sleepaway camp? What was it like learning to canoe for the first time or being part of a team?
Kids with diabetes don’t always get to have these types of experiences as a result of the challenges of their illness. Rising or falling blood sugars as well as other diabetes-related complications can keep kids from exploring all that an overnight camp may have to offer. Their disease might even make them stand out among their peers, ultimately resulting in isolation or embarrassment.
The Central Ohio Diabetes Association (CODA) has been operating camps designed specifically for children with diabetes since 1968. More than 7,500 youths have attended CODA’s summer camp, Camp Hamwi (named for Dr. George Hamwi, one of the co-founders of CODA). In fact, 2019 marks the 52nd year of consecutive camp offerings for children with diabetes.
At Camp Hamwi, campers ages 7-17 learn the importance of good diabetes control in their childhood and for a lifetime. In addition to Camp Hamwi, CODA offers Stepping Stones, a transitional day camp with an overnight outing for children ages 8-12, and Kids Camp, a day camp for children ages 3-7. A special program is offered for Counselors-In-Training, ages 17 & 18, with enrollment limited to individuals entering their senior year of high school who are looking for an opportunity to develop their leadership potential.
The 2019 camp season welcomed 10 campers to Kids Camp, 15 to Stepping Stones, and 176 to Camp Hamwi. These campers represented 36 Ohio counties with an additional camper coming from Illinois and two from West Virginia. CODA was founded in 1964, and merged with LifeCare Alliance in 2017. All three camps offer education opportunities for parents and families. Kids Camp and Stepping Stones offer group counseling and support services to parents who are anxious about leaving their children on their own – perhaps for the first time since their child’s diabetes was diagnosed.
These camp experiences would not be possible without the generous support of CODA funders. The Franklin County Community Partnership Grant Program has supported CODA camps since 2013. The Community Partnership Program is a competitive grant process whereby the Franklin County Board of Commissioners support local community-based organizations that serve county residents. As a direct result of this funding, campers learn to develop a personal diabetes management plan. The plan includes:
- A healthy meal plan.
- Regular physical exercise.
- Regular checks of blood glucose levels.
- Taking diabetes medications as prescribed.
The camp programming also helps children and parents learn about each element of the plan and to start practicing such positive behaviors as goal setting, self-monitoring, positive reinforcement, and shared responsibility for diabetes management. Eighty-six campers came from Franklin County this summer.
Similarly, the Ingram-White Castle Foundation has been supporting LifeCare Alliance and CODA camps for many years. The Foundation especially supports programs that address a critical human service need. Without this key support, CODA would not be able to provide scholarships for the nearly 200 campers that attend each summer. While the camp programs are designed primarily to promote the health of children with diabetes throughout their lifetime and to prevent the development of diabetes complications, they also teach self-care skills and help the participants develop confidence through appropriate medically supervised recreational activities. Most participants cite making new acquaintances with peers with whom they can share experiences and overcome feelings of isolation, fear, and anger as a valuable tool in helping them better manage their disease. Learning to manage diabetes helps ultimately prepare the campers for success in all aspects of life like school and work, which links to another area of emphasis for the Ingram-White Castle Foundation’s funding program.
Another funder without which CODA camps would not be possible is the New Venture Fund, which assists with CODA’s long-standing goal that no child with diabetes be turned away from having a camp experience because of their family’s economic situation.
For children who develop diabetes at a young age, it is crucial that they learn self-care skills such as blood sugar testing, insulin injections and the importance of adhering to diet and exercise regimens. Camp Hamwi offers diverse recreational programs for any skill level. The camp provides opportunities to develop team spirit and good sportsmanship in individual and group activities. Each camper is encouraged to try new activities and explore their individual interests. It is important that campers explore “new territory” by focusing more upon their potential than on imagined limitations imposed by diabetes. There are supervised opportunities for horseback riding, archery, volleyball, soccer, basketball, canoeing, swimming, rappelling, campfires, and arts and crafts. This funding is crucial in allowing diabetic kids to achieve their full potential as they learn how to manage their illness.
All of CODA’s camps are accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA). This accreditation means that the camp maintains the highest professional standards in instruction, safety, and welfare for all campers. To maintain accreditation, the camp must meet or exceed standards in more than 300 areas. In recent years, the camping program has adapted to meet the needs of both campers and staff members who use insulin pumps. As the devices have increased in popularity and usage, approximately half of the campers and staff benefit from case-specific educational programs.
The Harry C. Moores Foundation, a longtime CODA camp funder, is located in Columbus, Ohio, and supports camps in order to make an impact in child welfare throughout the state. Many campers come from rural counties in Ohio where they might be the only student at their school with diabetes. Meeting other kids that also need to use an insulin pump or give themselves injections can be life-changing for those who are isolated by their condition. One camper, Katie, remarked about this topic, “You don’t have to think about having diabetes; it’s just the norm. You don’t have to apologize for being diabetic because they know what it’s like.” Helping kids ages 3-17 attend camp at little-to-no cost to their families is invaluable.
After camp ends, like it did this year on Aug. 3, staff complete a thorough outcome evaluation with campers and families to determine program and education components for the next year. Continuous quality improvement allows the program to better meet expressed education needs and adapt to requests among the participants. The camp education program has three focus areas: hypoglycemia awareness and treatment, bullying, and carb counting.
The CVS Health Foundation, another camp funder, is a great example of a corporate philanthropy program that helps campers take advantage of the camp curriculum to help better manage their disease. The Diabetes Camp Education Curriculum addresses every aspect of diabetes care including medical and psychosocial concerns. There are three levels of curriculum: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Daily education sessions are led by the medical staff of physicians, nurses, and dietitians who focus on teaching about the nature of diabetes and methods of managing it. The complexity of issues related to diabetes dictate a relatively high ratio of medical staff to campers (no less than one health professional to eight campers). This ratio is significantly higher than many diabetes camps. The medical coverage at Camp Hamwi ensures that any medical issues that arise will be addressed by qualified medical staff rather than by counselors or non-medical personnel.
A licensed social worker conducts psychosocial programs designed to increase self-esteem and feelings of empowerment. These learning opportunities promote attitudes of independence and self-reliance crucial to the tight control of diabetes that leads to the reduction of death and disability due to diabetes or its complications. These programs reinforce the work of the medical staff by enhancing commitment to systematic self-care and the level of glycemic control that leads to a full and healthy (near normal) lifestyle.
Thank you so much to all of our funders for making CODA camps so successful in 2019!
Camp Hamwi campers thanking longtime CODA funder, the Harry C. Moores Foundation.
CODA Director Cathy Paessun, left, and Dayna McCrary, community partnerships coordinator for the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, pose during the 2019 Red Carpet Day at Camp Hamwi after a tour of the grounds specifically designed for grantors and funders.
Thank you for nominating an outstanding volunteer for the Spirit Awards! Volunteers are essential to the success of LifeCare Alliance in our community, so it is important to recognize the wonderful work they do.
Please use the form below to submit your nomination. We want to know the LifeCare Alliance program that benefits from your nominee’s work, as well as the reasons your nominee stands out from all the rest.
Please visit LifeCare Alliance’s website and social media for information about volunteer recognition events as details are finalized. If you are interested in attending, please be sure to indicate so on the form below. Thank you!
LifeCare Alliance offers diabetes management education through its wellness program and the Central Ohio Diabetes Association. We can assist with blood sugar testing, corporate events, meal planning, and much more.
When it comes to understanding diabetes, there are some basics that should be covered. Our Columbus Foundation fellow, Radhika Pandit, explains what diabetes is and some ways patients can live their best life with it.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects the insulin produced by your pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that is extremely important in maintaining proper blood glucose (sugar) levels. Insulin is released into the bloodstream following a meal to stimulate the uptake of the glucose in your meal into the cells to be utilized for energy. If this hormone is not working properly, glucose is trapped in the bloodstream, blood sugar levels spike, and cells are deprived of energy.
What is the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2?
There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.
- Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks and destroys its own insulin-producing pancreatic cells. Patients require insulin therapy.
- Type 2 diabetes results when the body starts to become resistant to the effects of insulin. Type 2 tends to present later in life, although it is becoming increasingly common for children to present with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 in children can be influenced by family history, genetics, eating habits, physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight.
Diabetes can lead to a range of complications if not properly managed. These include peripheral nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy), eye disease (glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy), and kidney failure.
How Can I Manage Type 2 Diabetes?
In order to manage your type 2 diabetes, make sure to follow these 5 tips!
- Transition to a more plant-based diet: Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your meals and limit processed foods and sugary drinks
- Exercise regularly: At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week
- Take your diabetes medication as directed by your physician
- Monitor your blood glucose levels regularly
- Schedule regular doctor’s visits
Diabetes Self-Management Education & Support (DSMES) is the gold standard in diabetes education and an important part of managing your diabetes well. This program is also recommended for those with pre-diabetes.
In this series we discuss treatment options, nutrition, medications, insulin, monitoring blood glucose, preventing and treating complications, physical activity, the emotional aspect of diabetes, behavior goals, and management strategies.
The available dates for DSMES are:
April 11, 18, 25 (Wednesdays)…………………………………..5:30-7:30 p.m.
June 6, 13, 20 (Wednesdays)…………………………………….5:30-7:30 p.m.
Thursday, June 7……………………………………………………….5:30-7:30 p.m.
All classes will be held at the Central Ohio Diabetes Association located at 1100 Dennison Avenue, Columbus, OH 43201.
Each year, we take the time to thank our outstanding volunteers who embody our motto of “Nourishing the Human Spirit.”
Our volunteer base is the heart of LifeCare Alliance, and the work that volunteers do is so valuable to our Agency and our clients alike. More than 100 volunteers are needed every single day to deliver Meals-on-Wheels, run errands, assist with light housekeeping tasks, assist at a Senior Dining or Wellness Center, serve on a board, make favors for our clients, or help in the office.
Volunteers come together as individuals, corporations, families, and groups with the energy and enthusiasm needed to carry out the mission of LifeCare Alliance. Because of the volunteer base, LifeCare Alliance is able to continue serving clients without a waiting list, keeping homebound older adults and individuals with a medical challenge or disability safe, independent, and in their own homes — where they want to be!
Below is information on the locations, dates and times of recognition events throughout our service area. Please join us!
LifeCare Alliance Recognition
Monday, April 30, 2018 — 5:00 – 7:30 p.m.
L.A. Catering Event Center, 670 Harmon Ave. Columbus, OH 43223
Columbus Cancer Clinic
Monday, April 16, 2018 — 11:00 – 1:00 p.m.
L.A. Catering Event Center, 670 Harmon Ave. Columbus, OH 43223
Logan County Recognition
Tuesday, April 24, 2018 — 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.
Hilliker YMCA, 300 Sloan Blvd. Bellefontaine, OH 43311
Champaign County Recognition
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 — 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.
Champaign County Library, 1060 Scioto Street Urbana, OH 43078
Marion County Recognition
Thursday, April 19, 2018 — 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.
Marion Senior Center, 2375 Harding Hwy E, Marion, OH 43302
Dining Center Recognition
Monday, April 30, 2018 — 11:00 – 1:00 p.m.
L.A. Catering Event Center, 670 Harmon Ave. Columbus, OH 43223
Madison County Recognition
Wednesday, May 9, 2018 — 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Madison County Senior Center, 280 W High St, London, OH 43140
At Big Wheels 2018, LifeCare Alliance announced a $5 Million Match Campaign to secure the future, by building its Legacy Endowment.
The Legacy Endowment Campaign is designed to meet existing and future needs of LifeCare Alliance for decades to come.
An anonymous donor has generously committed to matching the first $5 million in Endowment gifts, beginning in 2018. The donation comes during a momentous occasion for LifeCare Alliance as the Agency celebrates its 120th anniversary.
This Campaign creates an opportunity for individuals and families impacted by the work of LifeCare Alliance to express their stewardship and leave their legacies in concrete and meaningful ways.
If you are interested in learning more about the Legacy Endowment Campaign or how you can become a member of the Catherine Nelson Black Society, please contact Chuck Gehring, President and CEO at 614-437-2801 or Rebecca Hurd, Director of Advancement at 614-437-2867.