Diabetes management in the elderly

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According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 25 percent of seniors over the age 65 have diabetes, diagnosed or undiagnosed. If you or your loved one needs assistance in managing diabetes, an agency caregiver can help.

With appropriate care and medication management, complications of diabetes can be prevented. Caregivers can also assist with nutrition and monitoring, which can help keep blood sugar levels consistent and prevent dangerous spikes.

If desired, caregivers can help set up daily exercise routines to provide motivation for healthier living.

When you are looking for a caregiver, look for an agency that has specialized training in managing chronic conditions such as diabetes. The caregiver will be educated in the signs of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, keeping watch for these subtle symptoms in you or your loved one.

The caregiver can help coordinate doctor's appointments, transport you or your loved one to and from appointments, and help you carry out doctor-recommended activities.

Caregivers can also set up regular schedules to coordinate eating and insulin administration to keep you healthy and balanced. If blood sugar levels ever reach concerning limits, caregivers understand how to take immediate action and can contact medical services to assist.

Depending on the type and severity of diabetes, there are different diabetes management aids that might be prescribed by doctors. These can include insulin or glucose pumps, insulin pens or other devices. Caregivers can help you get used to using the devices for blood sugar control and monitoring.

As diabetes research moves forward and new technologies are introduced, agencies should make it a point to train caregivers on all new innovations so that they are always prepared to help with your needs.

Nutrition is the cornerstone of proper diabetes management. Caregivers can help with meal planning and preparation so that meals are both healthy and enjoyable.

Caregivers will make sure that meals are well balanced and low in sugar and carbohydrates to avoid blood sugar fluctuations.

If desired, caregivers will help to keep foods and beverages that are unhealthy and tempting out of the home, although this is ultimately up to the client.

Exercising regularly can help the body to use both insulin and sugar more effectively. Exercising can also help with weight control, which can be very helpful in diabetes management.

Caregivers can help you to get on a regular schedule of exercise so that workouts are timed to work well with eating and medication regimens. Caregivers can also provide assistance with exercises and can be there for support in case of blood sugar drops.

You nor your loved ones have to fight diabetes alone. Please don't be afraid to ask for help.

James Wogsland, MBA, CSA is co-owner of ComForCare Home Care and is also a Certified Senior Advisor. JWogsland@ ComForCare.com.

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