Home care for Diabetes keeps the elderly safe in their own familiar surrounding for longer. Diabetes is a disease that causes excessive or below-average blood glucose levels in the body. This affects the body’s ability to turn food into energy. Diabetics’ bodies cannot utilize or produce insulin. There are many causes of diabetes. Depending on its type, diabetes can be caused by a damaged pancreas, a compromised immune system, genetics, environment and many other factors such as obesity and an inactive lifestyle.
Excessive sugar levels in the body can cause organ failure, damage to the nerves and blood vessels. On the other hand, low blood sugar levels can cause excessive fatigue and organ failure.
Symptoms of diabetes can include increased thirst and hunger, weight loss, frequent urination, fatigue, blurred vision, irritable mood, skin and gum infections and sores which heal slowly.
Types of Diabetes
There are four main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Gestational Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is believed to be a condition in which the autoimmune system attacks the pancreas. The attack stops the pancreas from producing insulin. It is considered to be mainly triggered by genetics or environment and not by lifestyle factors. Type 1 diabetes is more common among children and young adults.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is common among seniors, as it develops over time, primarily driven by obesity and inactivity. However, it can also be triggered by other factors such as genetics.
It impacts the body’s ability to produce or utilize insulin. The afflicted have to take medication or inject synthetic insulin to regulate their blood sugar levels.
Gestational diabetes is temporary and happens in women during pregnancy. Research shows that one in ten females in Canada are diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Post-delivery, gestational diabetes can disappear, but the women impacted by it are at substantial risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Prediabetes can occur at any age. It manifests in the form of high sugar levels, which are not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. However, it is still a serious condition that can harm the body and without intervention and lifestyle changes, can evolve into type 2 diabetes.
Impact on Life
Diabetes needs constant care and management once diagnosed. For seniors, it requires several changes in their daily routines and can have a detrimental impact on their quality of life. Some of these changes can be avoided with home care for diabetes via a live-in caregiver.
Seniors need to make many lifestyle changes as a result of diabetes for which home care for diabetes plans can be used.
Their blood sugar levels need to be checked regularly for abnormal levels.
Insulin injections are needed at regular intervals to control blood sugar levels. Seniors or their caregivers, providing home care for diabetes elderly, need to set alarms and reminders, so they do not forget these injections. The injections need to be stored properly and taken with the seniors when they are outside.
Significant changes may also be needed in the diet as a healthy diet can help reduce and maintain blood sugar levels.
Diabetes can limit a senior’s ability to go out or perform energy-intensive activities. It can cause fluctuation in energy levels resulting in lower productivity.
The need for discipline, loss of social independence and the stress from diabetes can also severely impact the mental health of seniors. A live-in caregiver can provide home care for seniors in Markham with diabetes.
Coping with Diabetes
Getting diagnosed with diabetes can be stressful for seniors but there is no need to panic. With proper care, diabetes can be managed and its impact on daily life can be minimized. Here are a few tips for seniors to cope with diabetes and maintain their quality of life.
1. Be prepared
Blood sugar levels of diabetics can fluctuate for many reasons and can be unpredictable. When stepping out of the house, diabetic seniors or their caregivers must carry an emergency kit that includes insulin, a glucometer, and medicine. Seniors should test and record their sugar levels at regular intervals to avoid emergencies.
2. Maintain a healthy diet and hydration
A healthy diet is vital for diabetes management. Afflicted seniors must avoid consuming sugary foods and drinks and pay attention to portion control. Hydration is critical and the seniors or their caregivers should make sure that water is always at hand and daily reminders are set to drink water at regular intervals to keep hydrated.
3. Exercise regularly
Exercise and physical activity is extremely effective for managing diabetes among seniors. Moderate-intensity exercises done regularly, such as walking, swimming, biking, yoga and dancing, can help seniors improve their physical and mental states, control blood sugar levels and alleviate many symptoms associated with diabetes. Encouraging diabetic seniors to exercise regularly is an essential responsibility for their caregivers.
4. Manage stress
Being organized and informed, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can go a long way towards reducing the stress of diabetes. Nobody is perfect and it is ok to accept the occasional glucose fluctuation, looking at it as a lesson learned for better management in the future. Caregivers can carry some of the burdens of helping seniors maintain the discipline required to keep diabetes in check and hence reduce the associated stress.
5. Proper foot care
Diabetes can be dangerous to seniors’ feet. It can reduce blood flow to limbs and cause nerve damage which can take away feelings from the feet. This can make it difficult to notice blisters or injuries, slow down the healing process and lead to serious infections and non-healing wounds, which can put a senior at the risk for an amputation.
Seniors or their caregivers should examine the seniors’ feet daily and keep them clean and dry. Diabetic seniors should wear clean socks all the time, preferably those designed specifically for diabetes. They must wear shoes made of soft leather and with cushioned support to reduce the risk of cuts and injuries. They should also get regular ankle and foot exams from doctors.
Diabetes is a serious common disease among seniors. It can profoundly impact a senior’s quality of life and requires changes in diet, regular exercise, medication and monitoring to manage. However, with proper care and discipline, its risks can be mitigated and the quality of life maintained.
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