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Aging Adults and Diabetes: What You Need to Know

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way the body processes food, especially sugar. Many seniors have types of diabetes, which can become serious if it isn’t managed. Learn basic facts about senior diabetes prevention and management.

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 need daily 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 need medication

For seniors with type 1 diabetes, care should continue as normal.

Caregivers should pay attention to symptoms of hypoglycemia and take care to help seniors manage it. Common occurrences of aging, like memory loss or lack of routine, increase the difficulty of maintaining health.

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. Get 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

A healthy lifestyle can decrease health risks associated with diabetes like strokes. (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 help prevent type 2 diabetes from worsening. Be sure a senior’s caregiving team is in sync concerning diabetes care to keep blood sugar levels healthy.

Home Care Tip

Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can be discouraging. The risks of worsening diabetes are serious: people sometimes need amputations. Be supportive and understanding. Find a support group or class about type 2 diabetes to help seniors stay positive and make healthy choices.

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