Here are five things that caregivers of older adults with diabetes absolutely should know.
These tips are from the Joslin Geriatric Diabetes Program.
If you’re a caregiver to an elderly person with diabetes, here are five tips regarding symptoms to be on the lookout for.
These caregiving tips come from Medha Munshi, MD. Dr. Munshi is director of Joslin Geriatric Diabetes Programs, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and assistant professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School.
#1. “Watch for increased frequency of hypoglycemia such as excessive sweating (or feeling hot), shakiness or heart beating fast,” says Dr. Munshi. Hypoglycemia means low blood sugar.
“Hypoglycemia in elderly may also manifest with atypical symptoms such as a change in behavior, confusion, irritability, dizziness, weakness or feeling faint,” she continues.
“Due to such symptoms, hypoglycemia is much more dangerous in an older person due to consequences such as falls, fractures and worsening of cognitive dysfunction.”
#2. Dr. Munshi stresses the importance of the caregiver checking blood sugar levels if the elderly patient has an illness, as the elderly during this time may not be self-caring.
“This may be result of illness itself, weight loss, dehydration or inadequate food intake.”
#3. “Errors in insulin/medication doses and/or skipping of meals may suggest need for an assessment of cognitive function.” elderly
#4. Dr. Munshi says that depression occurs often in older people with diabetes.
She explains, “This should be assessed if low mood and low interest/pleasure in doing things are noticed with or without poor diabetes control.”
#5. “Complicated regimens may not be appropriate for older adults with multiple chronic diseases,” says Dr. Munshi.
“It is important to inform patient’s medical providers regarding their inability to cope with a complex regimen, and to see if a simplified regimen can be used.”
Dr. Munshi is board certified in internal medicine, geriatric medicine, and endocrinology and metabolism.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.