Diabetes is one of the biggest challenges facing the world today. As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 422 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes. The disease mostly targets older adults, as the risk of developing diabetes increases with age – internal body functions may be compromised, and we may not get as much exercise as we once did.

Sadly, diabetes increases the chances of coronary disease, heart attack, and strokes in seniors. In fact, statistics show that heart disease and strokes account for approximately 65 percent of deaths in people with diabetes. The good news is that you can take steps to delay or prevent type-2 diabetes, which is the most common form of the disease to develop in older adults. This is where elderly care comes into play.

Prevention is the greatest cure and elderly caregivers need to repeat this motto as a mantra when it comes to providing quality senior care. It is important to take care of their diet and ensure they practice some form of exercise on a daily basis. Most importantly, it is vital to be aware and alert about the warning signs and symptoms of diabetes, because once diagnosed, it is often a life-long disease.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Blurred vision
  • Bruises and cuts that heal slowly
  • Constant thirst
  • Excessive hunger
  • Tiredness and Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Skin infections
  • Unplanned weight loss

Unfortunately, there are also some less obvious symptoms of diabetes that will require you to be extra careful. They are:

  • Refusal to eat
  • Changes in behaviour
  • Confusion
  • Falls
  • Little interest in food
  • Loss of short-term memory
  • Injuries going unnoticed
  • Sudden incontinence

Diabetes is not a disease to be brushed off or ignored, particularly in the elderly. The body relies on the proper functioning of insulin to create energy. High blood sugar levels can cause damage to almost every organ in the body. The body’s organs will suffer if the blood surrounding them is constantly high in sugar.

Unchecked high blood sugar levels can:

  • Cause infections and injuries
  • Damage the kidneys
  • Increase the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Increase the risk of a heart attack
  • Increase the risk of a stroke
  • Lead to limb amputation
  • Lead to vision loss
  • Weaken the arteries

All of these risk factors drastically affect the quality of life that a parent or senior loved one can enjoy. But there is no reason to simply accept this as the result of ageing. Let’s look at ways to prevent and treat diabetes.

  1. Eat Healthy

Diet plays a major role in the prevention of diabetes. Make sure your senior loved one’s diet is nutritious and healthy. It should be a diet high in fresh foods including whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins (skinless chicken and fish), low-fat dairy, and healthy fat sources such as nuts. Stay away from processed foods, carbonated beverages and alcohol and drink lots of water.

  1. Exercise

Throughout the discourse on elderly care, maximum emphasis has been on exercise. It is important for seniors to indulge in some form of physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day. Exercise helps process glucose and lowers blood sugar levels. Walking, swimming, yoga, tai chi – there are a lot of options to choose from and all of these have numerous health benefits too! Sometimes exercising in a group provides more incentive and encouragement. There are lots of classes online as well as at local community centres and gyms.

  1. Don’t Forget Your Medications

Older adults often forget if they have taken their diabetes medication. Luckily, there are a variety of ways to organize their medicines (such as a pill box) and alarms that you, as a caregiver, can use on your phone, computer, watch, clock, which can help you remind them to take their medication. You can also use a chart to check off when your senior loved one takes their medicine each day. In addition, if you have a smart phone or tablet computer, mobile prescription therapy products are available to help you manage your loved ones’ diabetes.

  1. Check Blood Glucose Levels Regularly

It is important to check your senior loved ones’ blood sugar levels on a regular basis. If you’re unable to go to the doctor for tests every time, there are a lot of blood glucose monitoring tools that you can purchase from any pharmacy in your vicinity and do a home test. Perform a blood test on your loved one once every month and keep a record by maintaining a chart. If you notice any changes that concern you, consult a doctor immediately.

It’s never too late – at least when it comes to type-2 diabetes. Contrary to popular belief, type-2 diabetes doesn’t have to be a rite of passage as we age. For older adults, the evidence increasingly reveals that there are two distinct paths: a sedentary, overweight lifestyle that leads straight to the burden of type-2 diabetes, or an active, leaner lifestyle that can delay or even prevent the onset of the disease. Equipped with a few important strategies, older adults can beat the odds of acquiring this condition. As an elderly caregiver, it is important to take note of all the steps mentioned above to provide quality senior citizen care to your loved one.

Author's Bio: 

The author of this article is a professional having years of experience in the field of Digital Marketing and currently associated with Proxgy. The author is an expert in writing on virtual travel, online video shopping and Digital marketing topics.