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.