Diabetes is one of the top health issues affecting seniors. According to a study published on the NCBI website, in the U.S. alone, around 10.9 million adults aged 65 years and older have diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes mellitus. This number is also expected to reach 26.7 million by 2050.
It is an illness that many seniors in the UAE have as well, and as such, integrating diabetes management into elderly care, Dubai nurses advise, is a must.
Tips for Taking Care of Elderly Patients With Diabetes
Helping your elderly loved one with diabetes improve, maintain and prolong a good quality of life is crucial if you want them to enjoy their remaining years. You can do this through the following ways:
Assess your loved one’s abilities for self-care and enlist help when necessary
If your elderly family member has just been recently diagnosed with diabetes, the first thing you must do is evaluate their abilities to function independently and take care of themselves.
In case they are already struggling or their abilities are already limited, you may have to consider hiring a home-based nurse to look after the patient. Get in touch with our Angels Care mobile nursing service if you’re looking to get a personal nurse for your elderly loved one in the UAE.
You will have to work with your family member’s nurse to ensure they get the care they require and can still enjoy life even with diabetes.
Learn more about their condition
Although you may already know some facts about diabetes, you still need to learn more about this illness. You have to remember that each person is different, so each patient’s diabetes self-management plan will vary.
Learn everything you can about this disease so that you can recognize warning signs that your elderly loved one’s blood sugar levels are out of balance and what you can do to help.
Do this by reading articles on diabetes from reputable websites. You can also get all the information you need from your parent’s doctor. By doing so, you will help your family member avoid the discomfort and pain that accompanies this condition.
Make sure the patient’s nurse is also knowledgeable about diabetes and is informed about the special instructions of your loved one’s doctor.
Be aware of the symptoms of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia
It is important that you know the symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) so that you know how to help your love one when these situations arise.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar include:
- Fatigue and weakness
Symptoms of hyperglycemia or high blood sugar include:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive hunger and thirst
- Blurred vision
Talk to your family member’s doctor to find out the best ways to handle high or low blood sugar. The doctor will recommend that you always have simple sources of sugar such as glucose tablets at hand for your loved one when their blood sugars drop.
This will help them avoid suffering too long from these uncomfortable symptoms. Take the time to give the nursing care provider instructions about this as well.
Accompany your loved one during checkups
Make sure your patient sees their diabetes health care professional on a regular basis. It is essential that everyone is on the same page regarding the diabetes management and its impact on your loved one’s overall health.
Your family member will also need to undergo regular tests for blood testing, cholesterol, eye health, etc., so you will also have to remind your parent about them.
Encourage your loved one to quit unhealthy habits
If your elderly loved one still smokes or frequently consumes too much alcohol, encourage them to stop. These habits can aggravate diabetes and cause more health issues.
Ask the doctor and personal nurse for their help in motivating your loved one to quit these habits so that they can even have more years to live.
Make sure your ‘patient’ eats well every day
Following a well-balanced diet plan is a crucial element of good diabetes management, and even of improving their overall health and quality of living. It is therefore important that you and your family member’s nurse prepare only healthy meals and snacks for your senior loved one.
If your senior loved one cannot shop and cook, you have to prepare their meals and snacks. If this is not possible, make sure you arrange a food delivery service that will deliver prepared healthy meals to your parent daily.
Get your loved one to start exercising more
Aerobic and resistance training or exercises have been proven effective in improving blood sugar levels and overall health.
Whenever possible, encourage or accompany your parent while walking in the park, hiking, swimming, or taking up a sport they like. Instruct the nurse to do this as well so that your parent will get a good workout regularly.
You can also ask your elderly loved one if they would like to join a seniors’ center so that they can participate in age-appropriate activities. The workout they get will do wonders for their health. Your loved one will also get to socialize with other like-minded people, and this will be great for their emotional health.
As long as you work with your senior family member’s healthcare team and have the assistance of a reliable and competent nurse, you can help your loved one enjoy a better quality of life even if they have diabetes.
Get in touch with us if you are looking into, or need advice on health care services for your family.