Caring for Seniors with Diabetes
Approximately 12 million Americans have diabetes, the majority aged 65 and above. Diabetes generally leads to a greater risk of early mortality, lower quality of life, isolation, and being institutionalized. Caring for seniors with diabetes can be complicated, particularly if they suffer from other diseases that also require specialized care. Below you’ll learn more about caring for an elderly person with diabetes.
Managing diabetes in the elderly
When caring for an elderly loved one with diabetes it critical to monitor blood sugar levels and A1C. Anyone with a consistent blood sugar level of 125 or above is classified as diabetic, and managing the disease requires keeping their level as low as possible. Another important is monitored less often, but is just as critical, is the level of A1C in the blood. For seniors, a good A1C level would hover between 7% and 7.5%, and this reveals a lot about their glycemic control over the most recent three-month period.
Treat diabetes seriously
Some seniors are on programs where all they have to do is take a pill or two daily to manage their blood sugar level. Others must receive regular injections of insulin in order to manage it. The main thing to remember is any diabetic regimen must be taken seriously, and medications must be taken just as prescribed by the doctor. Some patients tend to ignore meds when they’re feeling well, and this often leads to a relapse.
Changing lifestyle as needed
Very often, the senior should make some lifestyle changes to keep their blood sugar under control. Putting on weight is not ideal, and generally make diabetes worse. On the other hand, if you can lose some weight, it might be significant enough to keep your blood sugar levels under control. This makes diet an essential part of diabetes treatment, because consuming foods with excess sugar or carbohydrates will usually trigger an increase in blood sugar. Other lifestyle changes may require the patient to quit smoking or to increase their exercise.