Senior care and diabetes management
by Shannon Lee
Forming the Best Diabetes Treatment Plan for Elders
With advanced age comes greater risk for medical problems, including Type 2 diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, 8.6 million elderly Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes. Out of all those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes this year, over 50 percent of them may be age 55 or older.
Senior Care and Diabetes Management
Seniors can face significant hurdles to diabetes management that younger patients might never encounter. Being prepared for the challenges can open the door to better diabetes management.
- Since the symptoms of diabetes can be subtle, long-term organ damage could occur long before an elderly person is diagnosed with the disease. To make certain this doesn't happen, ask your doctor to check for diabetes early and often.
- Diabetes medications can sometimes be expensive, and seniors on a fixed income might find themselves making difficult decisions about which medications they can afford. Talk to your doctor about prescription plans and free samples that can help stretch the dollars even further.
- Some seniors might not be able to drive, and could miss doctor appointments for lack of transportation. Others might have limited mobility that prevents them from using public transportation services in their area. Turning to a friend or professional transportation service might be the answer.
- Sadly, many elderly may lack family support or friends to watch over them. Simply "checking in" with an elder who has diabetes can make diabetes management easier to handle.
Diabetes Diet and Exercise Plans for Seniors
The special needs of an aging body should be taken into account when forming a diabetes diet and exercise program. By the age of 75, one third of all men and half of all women are physically inactive, making a traditional exercise plan difficult. In addition, nutrition needs change with age, and other medical conditions might prohibit the customary diabetic diet.
Speak with a dietitian about specific diet concerns for seniors, and pay close attention to blood sugar levels throughout all changes in diet and exercise routines. Remember: even small lifestyle changes are better than none at all.
Medications are Crucial to Diabetes Treatment
Aging individuals with diabetes don't have to accept complications as an inevitable situation--good diabetes treatment can keep the disease under control. Diabetes management can be made much easier by simply taking medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor. In addition, regular testing of blood sugar levels and a willingness to try out new diabetic drugs can go a long way toward keeping seniors with diabetes healthy.