How Diabetes Affects the Elderly

Guest post by Aaron Farrington

I was at a party with a friend who I only knew for a few months, still learning who he was and learning more about his life. He was a very sociable, easygoing guy, with a great sense of humor, and the only point that he withdrew from the group was to get soda from his car. It was diet soda, which he had as a backup in case there would be none available at the party. “I have Type 2 diabetes,” he explained, and with seamless cleverness he followed with “it’s the kind that you have to earn.”

While we can all admire his attitude and having a sense of humor in dealing with a life-threatening illness, it’s a big issue that affects millions in the US and is a burden to many of our elders. Type 2 diabetes is also known as “adult-onset” diabetes and makes for 90-95% diagnosed cases of diabetes. It occurs as the combined result of an unhealthy lifestyle and the pancreas producing less insulin.

Diabetes is not only a difficult disease to cope with, but a widespread problem that is projected to only get worse.  As this educational infographic from the University of Arizona’s College of Nursing points out, 19.7 million adults in the US are living with diabetes, 40% of those cases (8.2 million) being undiagnosed. The problem is expected to increase, estimated to be prevalent among 12% of the US population by 2050. As the baby boomer population grows older, more caregivers should be prepared to handle not only more persons in need, but more affected by diabetes.

The elderly are already prone to a number of chronic illnesses, and diabetes is another struggle to those who are more in need of caregiving. Providing help requires an understanding of the condition and the needs of those affected, like making sure to have regular monitoring for blood glucose levels, and to plan a healthy diet supplemented with formulas to help regulate glucose levels. Not only providing caring for our elders, but being aware of their individual health problems and how to manage them are essential to caregiving.

There is a fairly high correlation between diabetes and incontinence as people age. Choosing the right product is confusing for many first time buyers. In fact, a study by Kimberly-Clark, makers of Depend and Poise showed that first time buyers waste $130 in trial and error mode trying to figure out the right product for them. A simple way to avoid this is to use this tool or call the experts at The CareGiver Partnership at 1-800-985-1353 M-F 9-4 CST. They have over 100 samples to try before you buy ($3.49 per sample pack).

I have more than one friend whose life has been affected by diabetes, and I also know the difficulty of putting a loved one under the care of others. A future with both the realities of diabetes and senior living coming together can be troubling. The best kind of comfort is knowing that professionals with the right knowledge and resources are there to help, ready to handle every need and address every concern for whoever they are accountable for.

Learn more about The Rise of Chronic Illness

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About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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