Understanding and Attending to Diabetes in Seniors – Calgary

Understanding and Attending to Diabetes in Seniors - CalgaryDiabetes, and the symptoms that come along with it, impact an astonishing number of Canadians of varying ages, from diverse backgrounds.

In the case of seniors, the difficulties that come along with Diabetes can be increasingly difficult to manage because of the more delicate state of overall health in which many seniors find themselves in their older age.  To make sure that all needs are being appropriately addressed and attended to, it is important that caregivers and loved-ones of seniors with Diabetes make themselves aware of information concerning the nature of the disease, how it impacts seniors’ bodies and lifestyles, and what steps can be taken to create a better quality of life for seniors with Diabetes.

Types of Diabetes

A diagnosis of Diabetes describes a set of metabolic diseases that create problems with blood sugar, as a result of the fact that levels of insulin created or used within the body are inadequate. This deficiency can either come from insufficient production of insulin within the body, or because the body’s cells are unable to properly respond to the insulin that is produced. The following is some basic information related to Diabetes that can help in the building of a baseline level of information from which to seek out further knowledge:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: This type of Diabetes was previously referred to as juvenile or insulin-dependent Diabetes, and the individuals who experience Type 1 are most commonly children, teens, or adults below the age of 35. It is with this form of Diabetes that the body produces no insulin whatsoever, and people with Type 1 will require insulin pumps or injections throughout the duration of their lives to supplement the insulin that is not being naturally created by the body.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Formerly known as adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent Diabetes, Type 2 causes the pancreas to produce a reduced amount of insulin, or leads the body to be unable to properly use the insulin that is available. More common in older adults, Type 2 is particularly common in people who are inactive, overweight, have poor diets, or have a family history of Diabetes. It is this form of Diabetes that is known to affect the elderly, as their diminished levels of physical activity, associated weight gain, and potentially weaker state of overall health make them more vulnerable to developing the disease.
  • Hyperglycemia: An excess amount of glucose in the blood-stream, high-blood sugar occurs as a direct result of the insulin deficiencies associated with Diabetes. Hyperglycemia can cause symptoms such as constant hunger, increased levels of thirst, and more frequent urination.
  • Hypoglycemia: An insufficient amount of glucose in the blood-stream, low blood sugar may also be experienced by individuals with Diabetes, either as a result of taking an excess of insulin or other medication, failing to consume enough food, or being more active than usual.

Attending to Diabetes

The symptoms of Diabetes can be pervasive, and can come to impact seniors’ lifestyles in a whole host of different ways. While Diabetes cannot be cured, talking to a healthcare professional to set up an appropriate healthcare, medication, and lifestyle regime offers the opportunity to help keep symptoms in check and minimize the ways in which Diabetes interferes with living a full life. Caregivers of seniors with Diabetes can also help motivate and uphold behaviours, routines, and support systems that can create a better quality of life and keep seniors as healthy as they can be.

  • Eat Well: The fact that Diabetes affects the body’s ability to work with glucose means that there are some dietary considerations that need to come into play to help promote better health for seniors with Diabetes. Some individuals will need to adjust their eating habits to incorporate more fruits and vegetables, reduce refined sugar intake, and manage carbohydrate consumption, among other things. Consult with a healthcare professional to determine what dietary changes will be the most beneficial for health.
  • Exercise: Exercise is always valuable for keeping the body in healthy shape, but is especially important for seniors with Diabetes. Exercise helps facilitate proper use of glucose within the body, can improve overall physical fitness, can help manage weight, and can empower seniors to feel better about their physical forms.
  • Foot Care: Tending to the health of feet is particularly important for diabetics, and seniors may require some support in this area, especially if they struggle with mobility. Diabetes often leads to loss of feeling in the feet, meaning that pain or problems with the feet may not be felt and, therefore, may go unnoticed. For this reason, feet should be checked on a routine basis for sores, injuries, infections, and other potential problems.
  • See a Healthcare Professional: Ensure that seniors maintain an ongoing and consistent relationship with healthcare professionals who can suggest medications, treatments, and lifestyle adjustments and subsequently assess the effectiveness of these choices to make changes as necessary.
  • Seek Support: For many people, there is comfort in knowing that there are others who have common experiences with whom points of view, concerns, and questions can be shared. Seniors may benefit from seeking support groups that can offer a sense of community and a setting in which to open up.
  • Stop Unhealthy Habits: Encouraging seniors to cease unhealthy habits such as smoking and consuming alcohol can help protect them from developing further complications to their health, such as nerve damage or heart problems that can be additionally difficult to manage on top of Diabetes. The fewer bad habits and more healthy choices that seniors engage in can help keep them healthy longer.

Dealing with the realities that come along with Diabetes can be difficult, but so many options and choices exist that can help seniors and their caregivers access opportunities to reduce the impact that Diabetes has on daily life. Resources are available in Calgary that can help seniors make healthy choices, become more knowledgeable about their condition, and work towards creating a healthy and happy life for themselves as they live out their lives.

Contact us today for a Free Home Care Assessment by a Nurse to discuss how our services in Calgary can help you or your loved one care for their health and wellbeing.

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