Diabetes is a common problem in older adults. Approximately 25% of people over 65 years of age have diabetes, and almost half of these have not been diagnosed.
If your parent or spouse has diabetes and is above 65, then you must read this article. Older citizens’ diabetic condition is unique to their age, but it’s not always treated that way.
Dr. Medha Munshi, a Geriatrician, and Endocrinologist say “Geriatric diabetes is not as well understood as it is for the pediatric population. Treating a 40-year-old the same way as an 80-year-old is inappropriate.” Dr. Medha runs the Geriatric Diabetes Program at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, Mass.
Munshi says the diabetic patient’s family may not think about other complications such as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and depression. Treating more than one condition at a time can be tricky. Many older people take 10-12 medications a day.
Follow these five tips to care for older diabetic adults:
- Watch for low blood sugar called Hypoglycemia. Symptoms might be sweating, shakiness and a fast beating heart. Hypoglycemia can cause confusion, irritability, dizziness, weakness, feeling faint or even a change of behavior in older citizens. It is dangerous for many reasons and can result in falls or a decline in cognitive functioning.
- Make sure they are taking their insulin on time, eating on time. Be alert about their high or low blood glucose from being sick, weight loss, dehydration.
- Check that they’re under correct medication and not skipping any meal.
- Notice whether they are feeling depressed. Depression is a common symptom for older adults with diabetes.
- Take notice that if they are having trouble remembering their medicine. Ask the doctor to simplify it.
Diabetes in older citizens is often untreated. The older diabetes population is a highly heterogeneous group. Nutritional, psychological problems further complicate diabetes management. Management of all these issues under doctor’s guidelines with a comprehensive assessment should be kept in mind of every caregiver.