Aging Adults And Diabetes: What You Need To Know

Managing Diabetes as Part of Senior Care

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way the body processes food, especially sugar. Many seniors have a form of diabetes, which can become serious if it isn’t managed.

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Types of Diabetes

There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. While type 2 is much more common, especially among aging adults, type 1 diabetes can also affect seniors.

Type 1 Diabetes

  • Chronic

  • Unpreventable

  • Diagnosed with a blood test

  • Checked on through regular blood sugar tests

  • May require regular insulin injections or a pump

Type 2 Diabetes

  • Chronic

  • Sometimes preventable

  • Diagnosed with a blood test

  • Checked on through periodic blood sugar tests

  • Often manageable by lifestyle and diet changes; may require medication

About Type 2 Diabetes and Seniors


  • Feeling tired

  • Being unusually hungry or thirsty

  • Accidental weight loss

  • Frequent urination

  • Blurred vision

  • Skin infections

  • Healing slowly from cuts and bruises

Medical Tests:

Blood tests can diagnose diabetes and sometimes even show signs of prediabetes. Seniors should be screened for diabetes at annual appointments and ask a doctor for blood tests if symptoms develop.

Type 2 Diabetes Management:

  • See a dietician for help with meal planning for a healthier diet

  • Get regular exercise (personal training is often discounted for seniors)

  • Track glucose levels with blood tests as directed by a doctor

  • Lose weight if obesity is contributing to the disease

  • Choose a healthy lifestyle to decrease risks associated with diabetes like stroke (stop smoking, get more sleep, attend annual physical exams)

In some cases, medication is part of type 2 diabetes management. Ask a doctor if any medications could be helpful in preventing type 2 diabetes from worsening. Be sure a senior’s caregiving team is in sync concerning diabetes care to keep blood sugar levels healthy.

Tips For Unifying A Senior’s Care Team

How to Help a Senior’s Caregiving Team Work Together

Many seniors rely on the care and support of multiple people. This type of community is important, but can also be a problem if everyone isn’t working in sync. Use these strategies to work as a team.

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Why It’s Important to Stay in Sync

Excellent caregiving can reduce some of the risks seniors face, but if a caregiving team is out of sync, risks can actually increase:

  • Medications can get mixed up

  • Stress levels can increase

  • Lapses in scheduling

  • Uncertainty about what tasks were completed

  • Missed appointments

  • Unnoticed symptoms

Ways to Coordinate Care as a Team

Working together to help a senior enjoy life in their own home safely requires organization. Use these tips to coordinate care effectively:

  • Hold regular meetings

  • Agree on communication guidelines like:

    • What are the best times for updates?

    • When is the best time to regularly check in about upcoming needs?

    • Who should be contacted first if there is an emergency?

    • Who is authorized to make what kinds of decisions?

  • Post these communication guidelines so all caregivers can see them

  • Leave an emergency guide and kit for all caregivers to access

One of the most important ways to stay organized is to use an app. Care agencies sometimes offer apps or other tools for communication. 

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Finding The Right Mobility Aids For Seniors

Many seniors experience difficulty getting around independently. Mobility aids can offer stability and support. If a senior is unstable performing motions like sitting down or walking, it is essential to find mobility aids that fit their needs and ensure their safety. Approximately 1/3 of older people living at home fall at least once a year. It’s common for seniors to need mobility aids for safety and support.