Accepted 24 August 2011.
Introduction Elderly are often associated with multiple social and health problems. Family members are important in helping them doing their daily activities. For elderly diabetics, family support has a role in diabetes management and glucose control. The aim of this study is to explore the perceptions of elderly diabetics regarding the role of family support on their glucose control.
Methods This qualitative technique was a part of the study on glucose control and its associated factors among elderly diabetics. It was conducted from February until May 2009 in Kulim. Ten respondents were purposively sampled based on their glucose control. HbA1c 6.5% or less was considered as good glucose control. In depth interview, using semi-structured interview guide was used in this study. The conversation had been taped, transcribed to verbatim and analyzed manually using thematic analysis.
Results All ten respondents perceived that family support did not play a role on their glucose control. They believed that self-awareness and self-determination were important to control the glucose level. Those with good glucose control practiced healthy diet, and not affected by food prepared by their family members compared to those with poor glucose control. However, both groups claimed that, they did not receive much advice from their family members and no special food was prepared for them. Conclusions Elderly diabetics should be motivated on self-determination and focusing on good glucose control. Health education should be given to patients and their family members to increase their diabetes knowledge especially on useful advice and proper food preparation. It could motivate the elderly diabetics to control their glucose level.