Diabetes is one of the world’s most serious problems today. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diabetes affects approximately 422 million people worldwide. Since the risk of developing diabetes increases with age, the condition mostly affects older people. Internal body functions can be affected, and we may not get as much exercise as we used to.
Diabetes, unfortunately, raises the risk of coronary disease, heart attack, and stroke in seniors. In reality, heart disease and stroke account for roughly 65 per cent of deaths among diabetics, according to statistics. The good news is that type-2 diabetes, which is the most prevalent type of diabetes in older people, can be delayed or prevented. This is where elderly care enters the picture.
When it comes to delivering quality elderly care, the only treatment is prevention, and elderly caregivers must repeat this phrase as a mantra. It is important that seniors maintain a healthy diet and engage in some sort of exercise on a regular basis. Most importantly, it is essential to be aware of the warning signs and symptoms of diabetes, since it is often a life-long illness once diagnosed.
Symptoms and Warning Signs
- Hazy vision
- Bruises and cuts that take a long time to heal
- Constant thirst
- Excessive hunger
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Frequent urination
- Skin infections
- Unintentional weight loss
Unfortunately, there are some less visible diabetes signs that will necessitate extra caution. They are as follows:
- Refusal to eat
- Modifications of behaviour
- Confusion and disorientation
- Frequent falls
- Little interest in food
- Short-term memory loss
- Injuries that go unnoticed
- Sudden loss of bladder control
Diabetes is a disease that should not be dismissed or ignored, particularly in the elderly. Insulin’s proper function is required for the body to generate energy. Almost every organ in the body can be damaged by high blood sugar levels. If the blood around the body’s organs is constantly high in sugar, they will suffer.
High blood sugar levels that go unchecked can cause:
- Infections and injuries
- Kidney damage
- Increased risk of Alzheimer’s
- Increased risk of having a heart attack
- Increase risk of having a stroke.
- Result in the amputation of a limb
- Result in vision loss
- Weakening of the arteries
Both of these risk factors have a significant impact on a parent’s or senior loved one’s quality of life. However, there is no need to consider this as a normal part of ageing. Let’s take a look at some diabetes prevention and treatment options.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Diabetes can be prevented in a large part by changing one’s diet. Make sure your senior loved one’s diet is balanced and nutritious. A diet rich in fresh foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins (skinless chicken and fish), low-fat dairy, and good fat sources such as nuts is recommended. Give them plenty of water and avoid consumption of processed foods, carbonated drinks, and alcohol.
The importance of exercise has constantly been emphasised in the discourse on elderly care. It is important for seniors to engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day. Exercise aids glucose processing and reduces blood sugar levels. There are several choices to choose from, including walking, swimming, yoga, and tai chi, all of which have various health benefits! Exercising in a group may also provide more motivation and support. There are several courses available both online and at local community centres and gyms.
It’s common for elderly people to forget whether or not they’ve taken their diabetes medicine. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to keep track of their medications (such as a pillbox) and reminders that you, as a caregiver, can set on your phone, monitor, watch, or clock to remind them to take their medication. You can also keep track of when your senior loved one takes their medication with a log. Furthermore, mobile drug therapy products are available to help you treat your loved one’s diabetes if you have a smartphone or tablet device.
Track Blood Glucose Levels on a Regular Basis
It is important to monitor the blood sugar levels of your senior loved ones on a regular basis. If you can’t go to the doctor for testing on a regular basis, there are a variety of blood glucose monitoring tools that you can buy from any pharmacy in your area and test at home. Once a month, give your loved one a blood test and keep track of the results in a log. Consult a doctor right away if you find any changes that worry you.
When it comes to type-2 diabetes, it’s never too late to intervene. Type-2 diabetes does not have to be a rite of passage when we get older, contrary to common opinion. The research is increasingly showing that there are two distinct pathways for older adults: a sedentary, overweight lifestyle that contributes directly to the burden of type-2 diabetes, or an active, leaner lifestyle that can postpone or even avoid the disease’s onset. With a few key techniques, older adults may reduce their chances of developing this disorder. In order to provide consistent elderly care to your loved one, it is important for you, as an elderly caregiver, to remember and follow all of the steps outlined above.