Grandparents with custody of TID grandkids

My husband (age 74) and I (70) have custody of our 10 yr old TID grandson. He was diagnosed at age 3. Although he has lived with us most of his life, his parents did have some responsibility for him. Now they have none and we have it all. As a grandchild we treat him different (probably called spoiling!) and try not to let the diabetes interfere, but it does. Plus as older folks we sometimes lose track of set changes and have trouble keeping up and judging carbs, especially when we go out to eat. Now I have been diagnosed with T2 and I’m getting the two types mixed up in my head. Any suggestions? And anyone out there in my shoes??

Judi, I can sense how overwhelmed you are feeling - your correct, it isn’t easy. The “good news” [yes in quotes] is that your grandson is getting to an age where he must take some responsibility; true that he may push back some.

As far as changing sets, my pump gives audible alarms at intervals I set - make sure that “Alarms” is turned on. there are choices for these “low Reservoir” alarms - either “units left” or “estimated time reaming”; I use the units left reminder. I fill my reservoir only with enough insulin to last 3 to 4 days.

Carb counting, especially when eating out is really difficult - I’ve had T1D for over 50 tears [and a few years older than your husband] and I often mess up with carbs when we eat dinner out; on those evenings I make a point to “correct” after testing a couple of hours following my meal.

Oh dear - trying to manage both Type 1 and Type 2 at the same time - yes, management is different yet there are similarities so it may take time and lots of concentration.

I do have lots of experience with T1 and a little with T2 so message me anytime if you want to talk - there are many “helpful hands” on this site so just don’t hesitate to ask.

Thank you Dennis. You may well get tired of hearing from me!


My goodness, that is a lot to manage. I have an 11 year old T1D son, and I work in an adult ICU, so I get to see the whole spectrum. My first bit of advice is to really get to know your resources, and use them well.

Managing the two types can be very similar, especially if as a T2 you are insulin dependent. This can be a benefit or a headache, but either way it’s important to have a good understanding of both. Making sure you all get the education and support you need, and taking advantage of some of the helpful technology that is available will be a big step in the right direction, too.

God bless you for taking such good care of your grandson.
You’ll figure things out as you go. Make sure to find a doctor you work well with. Have your grandson mark set changes on a calendar.

Thanks for your input. We do mark set changes on the calendar, but since
he goes to his mother’s on the weekend and you never know when she will
change the set, we end up w/ wrong dates! But I will try to do better with
that. I think I don’t advocate enough for him. I did get a 504 for him at
school and this year I requested a teacher (not a specific one) that would
better understand his TID but otherwise I rarely make waves. His dr.
probably could be more help, but I don’t ask! People have no idea how hard
this is.

Please tell me what resources you are referring to, and technology too. He
has a Medtronic pump which is a godsend. The CGM was too much trouble. 9
times out of 10 it was as much as 30-40 points off! And that could be in
either direction. I am not insulin dependent and I hope I never will be,
but the differences do confuse me at times. At least I’ve learned how to
count carbs LOL! Thanks for your thoughts.

The tech part is mostly phone apps like MySugr (I really liked this for our son until he got his Dexcom cgm). It makes tracking data very simple and fun for kids. If you can afford it, upgrade to the Pro version for more options ($2.99/month). He already has a pump, which is great, we’re still waiting for ours. Not sure which cgm you tried, but they’re not all equal. Our diabetes nurse educator is type 1 and has tried most of the pumps and CGMs on the market, and has told us she preferred the Dexcom over her current cgm, which is part of her Medtronic 670 set. I’m sorry it’s been so finicky for you and your grandson.

As for resources, this site is one (check out the different info packets available as PDFs. His primary doctor and endocrinologist, as well. We have already taken our son to a podiatrist because of concerns over minor ingrown nails with infections. Beyond that, depending on your location, his school nurse and other families with T1D kids (our middle school has about 5 kids and a teacher who is T2. Also, if you’re feeling like you need to focus on your or your husbands health for a day, ask if your grandsons friends parents are willing to keep an eye on him so you can concentrate on your own well-being. If you fall ill, you’ll have a much harder time managing the situation for all of you. Alternatively, church congregation members might be another part of the picture. And consider talking with a social worker to find more support, either insurance or funding to cover costs, anything that’s available. Some hoops are worth jumping through to get some extra support, you’ll have to decide for yourself on that one.

Type 1 is “absolute” insulin dependent (honeymoon period aside), and type 2 is “relative,” in that it means your cells needs extra insulin or you have to limit carbs, either by dietary changes, medications or both. Poorly managed type 2 folks can end up being virtually like type 1’s, and sadly it seems to happen pretty often. In nursing school I was told that “type 2 diabetics can’t go into DKA,” but instead end up with a similar, non-acidotic condition called HHNK. This isn’t really the case, though. There are many nuanced differences in managing the two types, but the most significant is, of course, that you don’t need insulin, whereas your grandson does.

Oh thank you thank you thank you Joel! You have given me a lot of info to
check out and think about. I am so glad I found this group and folks like
you who are willing to take the time to answer questions. Our school nurse
is TID as is her daughter, so we have finally found someone who can babysit
when we need it thanks to your suggestion! I’m keeping your previous reply
on my phone to help me remember things to check out. Many many thanks
again Joel!!