November is National Diabetes Month – Diabetes and Seniors
Every November is designated as National Diabetes Month, which is used to shed light on diabetes and how it affects millions of people, including seniors. Approximately 25% of American seniors over the age of 65 have type 2 diabetes. Many seniors end up dealing with serious complications that require senior care, and it’s important that diabetes is controlled carefully in seniors to prevent more serious problems. During National Diabetes Month, family members and in-home care professionals should take the time to consider ways they can help the elderly control their diabetes.
Potential Complications of Diabetes for Seniors
Why is it so important for seniors to control their diabetes? Seniors face a higher risk of complications due to diabetes. The following are a few of the potential complications of diabetes seniors may face.
• Visual Changes – Natural aging already affects the vision, and diabetes can result in even more vision problems for seniors. High blood sugars may damage retinal blood vessels when blood sugars remain high over time. This may result in cloudy, poor vision. Diabetic retinopathy may also occur, which can result in blindness.
• Cognitive Impairment – High blood sugar levels also have the ability to have negative effects on the aging brain, which can increase a senior’s risk for developing dementia. Excess glucose may also result in damage to the brain’s neurons responsible for cognition.
• Hearing Loss – Seniors with diabetes are more likely to experience nearing loss, since high glucose levels have the ability to cause damage to the nerves and small blood vessels within the ear.
• Mobility Issues – Many seniors that receive home care already deal with joint or bone issues that make mobility difficult. However, diabetes may make these problems worse, particularly if patients develop neuropathy in the extremities.
Tips for Controlling Diabetes in the Elderly
To prevent serious complications, it’s important that family members and senior care professionals work with elderly individuals to keep their diabetes under control. The following tips can be used to help control diabetes in the elderly:
1. Create a Good Diet Plan – One of the most important ways to control diabetes in elderly patients is to create a good diet plan and follow it. A healthy diet is one of the best ways to keep blood sugar levels from going out of control. A good diet can also help to prevent problems with obesity, which is common in seniors with diabetes.
2. Add Activity – Daily activity is important for controlling blood sugar levels as well. For seniors with limited mobility, in-home care professionals can come up with exercise programs that accommodate the senior’s limitations.
3. Check Blood Sugar Regularly – Senior care professionals should be checking the senior’s blood sugar regularly to ensure that blood sugar levels are under control. While the elderly may not like being poked each day, it’s one of the best ways to ensure that diabetes is controlled.
Many seniors develop diabetes in their later years, so it’s important that caregivers and families know the symptoms of diabetes. Common symptoms of diabetes in seniors include dehydration, excessive urination, excessive thirst, confusion, dry mouth, and dry eyes. During National Diabetes Month, it may be a good idea to have seniors checked for diabetes, even if they’ve never been diagnosed with the disease in the past.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in King of Prussia, PA, contact the caring professionals at Reliant At Home Care today (610) 674-6860.