Elderly Care in Danbury CT
For many adult children trying to manage high quality care for their aging parents, diabetes and dementia are two issues that are particularly worrisome. With the high risk that both of these conditions have, many caregivers worry that their parent will develop such conditions and have to suffer serious consequences throughout their later years. What these caregivers might not realize is that these two conditions are actually connected.
The issue is not that diabetes causes dementia or that dementia causes diabetes. Instead, extensive research has shown that the two conditions are linked by a condition known as hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Diabetes impacts the insulin in a person's body. Insulin is a hormone that the body uses to help control how the body absorbs and uses glucose, a form of sugar that is naturally found in the blood. When a person is suffering from diabetes their body does not produce and regulate insulin properly, putting that person at serious risk of hypoglycemia, or not having enough glucose in the body. While this can have a serious impact on the health and functioning of the body, it can also negatively impact the mind. The brain, like the rest of the body, uses glucose for energy. This means that if the body does not have enough glucose in the bloodstream, the brain will not have enough energy to follow through with its normal functioning. This can create immediate cognitive functioning decline, including difficulty focusing, challenges making decisions, difficulty with judgement, and memory loss. If this hypoglycemia is severe or persists for long periods, significant damage can occur, contributing to the development of dementia.
The problem is actually two-fold. For a senior who is suffering from diabetes, the hypoglycemic episode can contribute to dementia. Those with dementia, however, are at far higher risk of suffering from hypoglycemia. This means that the low blood sugar issue may increase, worsening both the impact of the diabetes and the dementia, creating a cycle.
Fortunately there are things that you and your parent's elderly health care services provider can do to help protect your parent from dementia if they are already coping with diabetes. These include:
• Know the guidelines. Familiarize yourself with the guidelines that your parent's doctor puts forth about their diabetes. These include their ideal weight, what they should and should not eat, and their target blood sugar. Once you know these, encourage your parent to follow them.
• Offer medication reminders. Medication compliance is essential for best results from the particular medication. Make sure that your parent knows the proper dose of their medication and when to take it, and offer reminders so that they will remain compliant.
• Encourage a healthy lifestyle. Those who manage their diabetes properly are much less likely to experience dementia. Encourage your parent to eat a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise to help combat the effects of diabetes and keep their body healthier.
If your parent is suffering from diabetes, make sure that you know the early signs of dementia so that you can respond quickly and effectively if your parent begins to show them. These early signs include memory loss, confusion, new difficulties making decisions or managing money, difficulty communicating, judgement issues, and slower recall.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Danbury CT or the surrounding areas, please contact SYNERGY HomeCare of Danbury, CT at 203-731-2544.