The elderly in society plays a crucial role in shaping us as individuals. They have been the custodians of our tradition. However, they are the most vulnerable amongst all of us and require special care. On International Day for the Elderly, this article will tell you the ways of managing diabetes in the elderly.
Diabetes care for the elderly can require special care and effort. The primary reason for this specialized care is due to the prevalence of the existing decline in health due to old age. Therefore, they need the assistance of a diabetes educator at all times.
Tips for Managing Diabetes in the Elderly
In general cases, the tips provided for diabetes management may differ for old-age diabetes. There are a few particular recommendations for aged people to manage their blood sugar levels-
1. Staying active
Staying active in the later ages of life can become difficult due to lacking muscle strength. However, maintaining mobility is one of the key aspects of self-care diabetes management. Not only does it improve your physical well-being, but it improves insulin sensitivity in the body as a whole.
Old-age diabetes can cause frailty and increase the risk of a sedentary lifestyle in your body. It is therefore important to exercise for building limb strength and flexibility. Moreover, physiotherapy would work for someone who has been confined to a chair or bed.
Please note that practising any new exercises in old age must be first checked with a diabetes educator.
2. Making the right food choices
Managing diabetes in the elderly through the right food choices is different from managing diabetes for youngsters. Before following any dietary recommendations, it is important to consult your diabetes educator for a thorough assessment. This will enable them to understand your food preferences, capability for meal preparation, and the barriers to adequate nutrition.
It is also important to keep a glucometer handy in order to track your blood sugar levels. Once you identify all of the above, it becomes easier for the diabetes educator to make a diet chart that works best for you.
3. Prevention and treatment of hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia is a condition where blood sugar levels go lower than the normal range. Old-age diabetes can cause fluctuations in sugar levels more often than usual. Therefore, the risk of the elderly suffering from hypoglycemia is higher.
Generally, the symptoms of low blood sugar levels are not quite evident and, at times, not visible at all. Nevertheless, difficulty in concentration, morning headaches, and abrupt sleep cycles are a few symptoms of hypoglycemia.
How do you treat hypoglycemia?
Consumption of fast-acting glucose is the primary treatment for low sugar levels. This could be a sugary drink or sugar tablets followed by starchy food such as sandwiches or biscuits. In a case where you feel the condition is still not getting better, immediately call an ambulance. It is further helpful in diabetes management to have regular meals and snacks containing carbs.
One of the common things that go unnoticed during old age is mental well-being. Depression has become too common in people with complex health problems. Moreover, foot infections, ulcers, and continuous medication can take a toll on the mental health of any human being. Anything that might affect your mental health will also affect your sugar levels.
It is essential to get yourself checked to look out for signs of depression. Recognizing and understanding the cause of these issues at an early stage can help prevent further complications.
5. Illness and old age diabetes
Illness in old age is quite a familiar scene. Furthermore, diabetes can have an additional effect on those illnesses. Therefore, extra monitoring and care are essential at times when illness prevails. In a case where your illness does not go, and you have to visit a doctor, make sure to carry a copy of the plan suggested by your diabetes educator for their better understanding.
Read More: A Caregiver’s Checklist For Diabetes Care
Numerous physical changes affect your diabetes management as you grow. As and when these changes happen, it may indicate that something needs to be checked. On International Day of Older Persons, let us all pledge to not simply assume any change to be a part of the ageing process and ask for support and care where self-care diabetes management is becoming difficult.
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