With increasing age, physical performance often declines: One's hearing and vision deteriorate, one is less mobile, and sometimes one is not as mentally capable as before. Diabetes further reduces the quality of life that declines with age. However, there are certain points that can and should be considered.
For older people with type 1 diabetes or those with type 2 diabetes who need to inject insulin, acute hypoglycemia can lead to falls, blackouts, or impaired motor skills, and can have health consequences. Therefore, the treatment focuses primarily on preventing hypoglycemia. They can occur more frequently in elderly people with these diabetes variants because low sugar levels are perceived less well with longer diabetes illnesses and blood sugar-increasing counter-reactions in the body set in later.
Although the therapies and products now work very well, their use is sometimes no longer so easy with increasing age. For example, when older people can no longer operate their insulin pens or insulin pumps independently. Or if they misunderstand the blood glucose values displayed and react too late to critical values. Current technology trends also mean that displays and buttons are sometimes smaller, menus are more complicated and cell phones are necessary. Another challenge for diabetes in old age.
So, what can be done to overcome these challenges with diabetes in old age?
- Nutrition plays an important role in preventing hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. Moreover, the dentures should fit well so that good and sufficient food can be eaten, and malnutrition does not occur.
- Regular exercise also helps: five times 30 minutes of physical activity per week has a positive effect on blood sugar, blood pressure and fat metabolism. Be careful if you have limited mobility or heart problems!
- It also depends on your own attitude. Often people neglect doctor's visits, medications, etc. in old age. Self-discipline and motivation are needed here - as well as the thought that the more you take care of your illness, the better you will feel.
- It is also important to receive professional instruction in the use of the therapy products. This is the only way to ensure optimal results, such as understanding alerts for hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.
- Intuitive products designed for diabetes in the elderly, such as easy-to-use devices with large screens and buttons, are also helpful.
- Modern, automated and adaptive therapy systems facilitate the measurement of values and the administration of insulin.
In old age, therefore, there are supportive forms of therapy, suitable products, and tips and tricks. However, the elderly must be aware of this, adapt and react if something is not right - regardless of whether they are dealing with cognitive, physical or other complaints. Because although every form of therapy is possible in old age, other life circumstances must also be considered in this phase.