The Surprising New Recommendations Related to Low Blood Sugar and Senior Diabetics

The latest recommendations from the Endocrine Society regarding the elderly and diabetes are surprising, to say the least: lower blood sugar isn’t always best. And for those who’ve been maintaining a regimen of finger pricks, insulin injections, and careful monitoring of food intake, this change of course may be a bit hard to swallow.

Known as de-intensification, geriatricians are now often taking the approach with older adults that the benefits to be gained by striving for strict blood sugar control aren’t outweighing the health risks inherent with aging and illness. When A1c and glucose levels are kept at very low levels in the elderly, for instance, it can lead to an increased frequency of hypoglycemia and even kidney failure.

With as many as one in three seniors currently diagnosed with diabetes, these new guidelines are poised to have a staggering impact on the treatment and management of the disease for older adults, requiring a shift in mindset for many.

And not surprisingly, many older diabetics are reluctant to embrace this change. In one patient’s words to Dr. Pei Chen, a geriatrician at the geriatric clinic at the University of California, San Francisco, “I’ve been doing this for 25 years. You don’t need to tell me what to do. I can handle it.”

The new guidelines recommend an increase in A1c from 7 to 7.5% for older adults who are in good health; and up to 8 – 8.5% for those with dementia, multiple chronic illnesses, or poor health. It’s important to note, however, that recommendations are highly individualized based on a variety of factors, and that at no time should high blood sugar be ignored in the elderly.

Generations at Home can help older adults adhere to doctors’ recommendations to manage diabetes and a variety of other conditions with professional, customized, in-home care services for seniors. Just a few of the many ways we can help include:

  • Grocery shopping to ensure the senior has plenty of healthy food options readily available
  • Meal planning and preparation in adherence to any prescribed dietary plans
  • Transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments, tests, and procedures
  • Encouragement to engage in doctor-approved exercise programs
  • Medication reminders to ensure prescriptions are taken at the proper time and in the correct dose
  • And more!

Contact us online or at 727-940-3414 to request a free in-home assessment and discover a healthier lifestyle for a senior you love.

The Alzheimer’s Supplements to Avoid

Senior couple looking at medications

Always obtain your health care provider’s approval prior to trying anything new.

As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That can easily be applied to the recent increase of corporations offering alternative supplements, dietary programs, and herbal concoctions in order to treat, or at the very least lessen, the ramifications of Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association aims to alert us, however, to go forward with careful attention when investigating treatment options for a loved one with dementia – and always obtain the health care provider’s approval prior to trying anything new. Read more

Senior Malnutrition—The Crisis Nobody Is Talking About

Senior MalnutritionRemember weekend dinners at Grandma’s, whenever the whole family came together round the table to have a hearty meal, conversations, and laughter? Unfortunately, with many families now living far away from their older members of the family, along with so many urgent needs pulling us in numerous directions, it is difficult to continue this tradition – and it may be one among the numerous factors adding to the dramatic rise in senior malnutrition.

Up to 25% of all senior citizens in the U.S. are malnourished, leading to critical health problems. For many older adults who live alone, they simply are not inspired to cook properly for themselves. Others are going through grief, depression, anxiety, cognitive difficulties, poverty, medication side effects, and more.

Whatever the underlying factors, seniors who are malnourished experience compromised immune systems, longer and much more complicated hospital stays, readmissions, and earlier mortality. And revealing malnutrition isn’t as simple as paying attention to weight loss in a senior; people who appear in good health or perhaps even overweight may also be battling with malnourishment issues.

One main aspect of detecting senior malnutrition and then dealing with it lies in the hands of the healthcare community. Seniors should always be screened for nutrition issues by their primary care doctor, and a dietary plan put in place. When hospitalized, hospital personnel should also look into any potential nutritional requirements, and include their findings and a proposed course of action in discharge paperwork to be reviewed with both caregivers and the senior’s doctor.

Family caregivers also play an important role in ensuring the nutritional needs of the senior loved ones are met, as well as in helping to uncover the root cause if problems are found. For example, if financial concerns are preventing the senior from maintaining a healthier eating plan, she or he may be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Currently, up to three out of five older adults who do qualify for the program are not making use of its benefits.

It’s essential to pay attention to signs that your elderly loved one might not be staying with a healthier diet, and also to discuss any concerns with the senior’s doctor. And call on Generations at Home for help in establishing better nutritional habits for the senior loved one. We could plan and prepare balanced meals and pick up groceries to make certain there are healthy food options in the fridge and pantry at all times. Our caregivers also provide friendly companionship, which always makes mealtime more pleasant. Call us at 727-940-3414 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help you and your family’s Pinellas County caregiving needs.