When Diabetes is Part of the Care Plan

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By Martie Cruz 

 

Did you know that more than 25 percent of adults 65 and older have diabetes? It's also estimated that more than 20 million older adults have pre-diabetes, meaning they're at high risk for developing the disease.

 

In most cases, type 2 diabetes (the kind that most people who were not born with diabetes have), can be treated with some combination of diet and exercise and insulin injections and/or medication. Of course, that's easier said than done. When it comes to real life, helping an older person manage their care can feel like a puzzle bought at a rummage sale: you're never sure how and if all the pieces will come together.

 

There are some guidelines that can help, however. This list, from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), offers some tips on how people with diabetes can stay healthy:

 

  • Find out your average blood glucose level. At least twice a year, get the A1C blood test. The result will show your average glucose level for the past 3 months.
  • Watch your blood pressure. Get your blood pressure checked often.
  • Check your cholesterol. At least once a year, get a blood test to check your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. High levels may increase your risk for heart problems.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking raises your risk for many health problems, including heart attack and stroke.
  • Have yearly eye exams. Finding and treating eye problems early may keep your eyes healthy.
  • Check your kidneys yearly. Diabetes can affect your kidneys. A urine and blood test will show if your kidneys are okay.
  • Get flu shots every year and the pneumonia vaccine. A yearly flu shot will help keep you healthy. If you're over 65, make sure you have had the pneumonia vaccine. If you were younger than 65 when you had the pneumonia vaccine, you may need another one. Ask your doctor.
  • Care for your teeth and gums. Brush your teeth and floss daily. Have your teeth and gums checked twice a year by a dentist to avoid serious problems.
  • Protect your skin. Keep your skin clean and use skin softeners for dryness. Take care of minor cuts and bruises to prevent infections.
  • Look at your feet. Take time to look at your feet every day for any red patches. Ask someone else to check your feet if you can't. If you have sores, blisters, breaks in the skin, infections, or build-up of calluses, see a foot doctor, called a podiatrist.

 

Also, they remind us that it's crucial that people living with diabetes have at least three days' worth of supplies on hand for testing and treating their diabetes in case of an emergency.

 

At Home Instead Senior Care, many of our professional CAREGivers are trained in diabetes care. Please contact us to find out how we can help you or an older adult in your life manage diabetes.

 


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