Coping with diabetes as you get older

Managing diabetes and overcoming problems may become more difficult as people get older. However, there are some relatively easy ways to resolve any issues and continue to manage diabetes effectively. 

Outlined below are some methods that help people cope with diabetes as they get older: 

Using bigger blood glucose meters
Wearing a flash glucose monitor or indeed a continuous glucose monitor may mean it is easier to see where glucose levels are and indeed where they are going. Some of the device readings can be shared with other people and the healthcare team and some can integrate with apps on a smart phone so the result can be delivered as a voice/ sound. Your healthcare team can help set that up. 


Using bigger blood glucose meters 
There are blood glucose meters on the market which have bigger and brighter screens. Some can even vocalise the result of blood glucose tests. 


Using insulin pens records 
Certain insulin pens can record when people gave their last insulin dose to remind them whether they took it. 


Having prescriptions delivered 
GP surgeries and pharmacies may be able to deliver people's diabetes medication to their homes. 


Simplifying medications 
Diabetes teams may be able to simplify people's medications. 


Taking insulin after meals 
People can learn to take insulin after a meal if they're not sure how much they're going to eat and how much insulin to give. 


Asking for help with injecting 
If people are running out of sites to inject insulin then asking a loved one to help by injecting areas such as buttocks may help. It is understandable that this may be distressing if people have always managed their diabetes independently. 


If people are running out of sites to inject insulin then asking a loved one to help by injecting areas such as buttocks may help. It is understandable that this may be distressing if people have always managed their diabetes independently.


A discussion with the diabetes team or GP will often be required in order to try to simplify diabetes management as much as possible as people get older. Taking a family member or friend to these appointments can be useful in case there are important points or questions that need to be asked. Family members can put their minds at ease, too.


If you are/someone you know is started on new medication that you think may upset your/their diabetes then contact the diabetes team who will provide advice. They will often phone back after a couple of days to see how things are going.


Having said all this, many people remain extremely fit and active in later years, so a case by case approach is required. If people are willing to accept that things may change and they think about how these changes may influence their lives, things will be easier as the years go by.

For more information on blood glucose control, insulin and a range of other key topics, we recommend working through our Key learning course, starting with the module   What is diabetes? 


Go to ‘Getting older with diabetes’ to return to the main topic page, or choose another section.

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