Older Adults and Diabetes

Checking sugar levels. Injecting insulin. Carefully watching your diet. If this describes a typical day in your life, or that of a senior you love, you understand firsthand the obstacles that come with a diabetes diagnosis. As November is Diabetes Awareness Month, the aging care team at Inspired Home Care is pleased to share the following information regarding older adults and diabetes.

What Does It Mean to Have Diabetes?

In a nutshell, our bodies convert a number of the foods we eat into glucose, which supplies the energy we need – but only if our bodies make enough of the hormone insulin to break down the glucose for our cells to be able to access it. Diabetics’ bodies are either not able to make enough insulin (type 1 diabetes), or aren’t able to utilize the insulin correctly (type 2 diabetes), resulting in too much glucose in the blood.

Left untreated, diabetes may cause severe health concerns, including nerve, eye, and kidney complications, heart problems and stroke, as well as an enhanced risk for cancer or Alzheimer’s.

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

Lots of people with type 2 diabetes have such mild symptoms, or symptoms that come and go, that they don’t even realize there’s a problem until the disease advances and symptoms worsen. Signs to watch out for include:

  • Tiredness
  • Increased hunger and/or thirst
  • Loss of weight
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Slower healing of bruises and cuts
  • Skin infections

It is essential to talk to a doctor if any of these symptoms become apparent.

Can Diabetes Be Managed?

The good news is, once identified and effectively treated, and with adherence to changes in lifestyle, diabetes can be controlled and managed. For some, modifications to diet and exercise are sufficient, while others need to have medication and/or insulin injections.

Your doctor will put together a diabetes management plan to follow that may include:

  • How and when to track blood sugar levels
  • Which foods to consume and which to avoid
  • Exercises and physical activities
  • A medication regimen

Strategies to maximize health while managing diabetes include:

  • Manage your blood pressure levels and cholesterol, and have them checked on a routine basis.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Get annual flu and pneumonia vaccines, as well as annual kidney and eye exams.
  • Check the feet each day to look for sores, red patches, blisters, calluses, as well as other skin irregularities, and see a podiatrist with any concerns.
  • Keep skin protected, clean, and moisturized.
  • Ask your physician for guidelines on cancer screenings, and for help with any other physical, emotional, or mental health concerns being experienced.

Inspired Home Care, a provider of elder care in Barrington, IL, can provide help and information about older adults and diabetes management, including transportation to medical appointments and procedures, meal planning and preparation in accordance with dietary restrictions, medication reminders, and so much more. Contact us online or give us a call at 847-787-7572 for a no-cost in-home consultation for more information on our professional elder care in Barrington, IL and the surrounding communities.