- Diabetes is a significant health concern among elderly people, with 50% of UK sufferers being 65 years and older.
- Limited mobility due to diabetic neuropathy is a common complication limiting an individual’s quality of life.
- Physical and cognitive decline due to diabetes can cause dependency on others and emotional distress.
- Diabetes increases the risk of other health complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, and blindness.
- Effective management of diabetes in seniors includes professional care, diet control, exercise and movement, mental stimulation, and more.
Diabetes has become increasingly common in recent years. It is a chronic disease that affects the body’s ability to produce or use insulin properly. Unfortunately, it can have lasting and damaging effects on an individual’s life if not managed well, especially in older adults. The condition affects everyone differently, but when it comes to elderly people, there are specific things to consider that can impact their lives significantly. Here’s what you need to know about diabetes in the U.K., how it affects seniors, and what you can do to help manage it.
Diabetes Among The Elderly
It’s estimated that half the people with diabetes in the U.K. are 65 years and above. Diabetes among the elderly is a significant health concern. As people age, their risk of developing diabetes increases due to various factors, including changes in metabolism, lifestyle habits, and overall health. Here’s how the disease can affect their health.
Elderly people with diabetes are highly susceptible to chronic pain, especially in the feet and lower legs. This can lead to limited mobility and, in turn, negatively impact their quality of life. Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes and can cause pain, tingling, and numbness. These symptoms can affect balance and coordination, making it challenging to stand or walk for long periods.
Dependency on Others
As an elderly person’s mobility decreases, their need for assistance increases. This can lead to dependence on others for everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and even getting dressed. The emotional burden of depending on others can be overwhelming for an elderly individual and can take a toll on their mental and emotional health.
Underlying Health Complications
Diabetes increases the risk of developing many other health complications. These can include heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, and blindness. These conditions can further impact an elderly person’s life by limiting their capabilities and independence.
Older adults with diabetes are at a higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia. These conditions can be challenging for the individual and their family members to manage. Losing cognitive function can lead to frustration, confusion, and depression.
Diabetes can be expensive, especially for those on a fixed income or limited budget. The cost of medications, equipment, and supplies can add up quickly, leading to additional financial stress for the individual and their caregivers.
How to Help Manage Diabetes
Thankfully, there are various ways you can help with managing diabetes. Here are five effective ways to do that:
Investing in professional care for your seniors, regardless of their disease, is always good. An experienced elderly care service can help your senior manage and recover from diabetes in various ways. One way is by providing regular check-ups and monitoring their symptoms.
Eating a balanced diet is essential for controlling diabetes in the elderly. While it can be challenging to follow, a nutritional plan tailored to an individual’s needs can help keep the disease under control.
Exercise & Movement
Exercising regularly helps seniors stay active and manage their diabetes better. Low-impact exercises such as walking or swimming are ideal for those with limited mobility, but physical activity can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve overall health.
Studies have shown that engaging in mentally stimulating activities can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline associated with diabetes in the elderly. Games like crossword puzzles and Sudoku are great options.
Having a strong support system is also key to helping seniors manage diabetes. This includes having family and friends who can help with day-to-day tasks and a professional healthcare team who can provide medical advice and guidance.
Prevention and Treatment
Lastly, it’s important to note that prevention is critical for diabetes. Regular check-ups, healthy nutrition, and physical activity can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes in the elderly. Early detection and timely treatment are also essential for managing any pre-existing condition.
By understanding how diabetes affects seniors, you can take the steps needed better to manage the disease for your elderly loved ones. Despite their diagnosis, they can lead a long, happy life with proper care and support.