As a caregiver for your parent, you are on the frontlines. You see changes that may be taking place in their behavior and physical condition that even they may not be aware of. With the prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes in seniors, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms. The sooner treatment begins, the better the outcome.
11.8 million seniors are thought to have diabetes. That is over a quarter of the population of those 65 and older. Almost all people develop prediabetes before developing type 2 diabetes. This stage has no clear symptoms and many people pass through it without even knowing it. One possible sign is darkened skin on the neck, armpits, elbows, knees and knuckles.
Not all people that have prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, people can lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent by doing the following:
- Lose 7 percent of their body weight.
- Exercise for 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week.
These risk factors put you at higher risk of developing diabetes. Prevention is always better than treating a disease. If any of these relate to your loved one, it may be time to suggest a change in their lifestyle.
- Overweight and an excessive amount of fat in the abdominal area.
- A diet high in red meat, soda, and processed and packaged foods.
- Lack of exercise.
- High blood pressure and high triglycerides (a fat in the bloodstream).
Symptoms to Look Out For
In order to prevent the long-term damage associated with diabetes, early diagnosis is imperative. Once physical damage has occurred, it is often irreversible. Symptoms to look for in your aging parent include:
- Frequent urination – the average person has to go between four to seven times in a 24 hour period.
- Increased thirst
- Blurred vision
- Dry Mouth
- Itchy Skin
If they have had undiagnosed diabetes for some time, symptoms may progress. These include:
- Yeast infections
- Unexplained weight loss
- Feel sick to their stomach
- Numbness, pain or tingling in their hands or feet
The Next Step
If you have any concern about your loved one developing diabetes, make an appointment with their health care practitioner. Early diagnosis and treatment can keep your loved one from developing one or more of the many complications of diabetes which includes heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and eye disorders.
Home Care Provider
If your loved one needs assistance with the daily activities of life or support with lifestyle changes, consider obtaining the services of a home care provider. These professionals can prepare healthy meals and accompany your parent on daily walks, providing the companionship that helps people make necessary adjustments in order to live life to their full potential.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home health care in Norwalk, CT or the surrounding areas, please contact SYNERGY HomeCare of Stamford, CT at 203-661-6969.