Getting older with diabetes

Many of the issues people encounter as a result of having diabetes may be a little more difficult to overcome as they get older. It’s common for people to worry about how they, and their family or support network, will cope. People are often anxious that they’ll become a burden to their loved ones. 

Take a look at some of the issues people with diabetes may be concerned about as they get older: 

  • eyesight may deteriorate and it may be more difficult to read glucose meter or a insulin pen 
  • mobility may deteriorate making it harder to get to the GP, pick up prescriptions or visit a diabetes team 
  • memory may become a problem and, as a result, remembering whether or when insulin was taken 
  • appetite may be affected, so calculating carbohydrate values may need some consideration 
  • weight loss can lead to a change in insulin sensitivity, so the insulin doses may need to be reduced 
  • other medical problems may creep up, which can interfere with diabetes control 
  • family and friends may become increasingly concerned about how people with diabetes are managing at home 
  • the symptoms of hypoglycaemia may change and become less obvious, putting someone at increased risk of severe hypoglycaemia 
  • additional medication, such as steroids, may be required for other conditions, which may upset diabetes 
  • joint problems in the hands may make it more difficult to use pen devices and pumps 
  • complications associated with long-standing diabetes may occur, such as kidney disease, eye disease or foot disease 
  • more frequent hospital visits may be necessary, either as an outpatient or an inpatient 
  • people may lose family members and carers as they get older, so they also lose their social and emotional support 
  • people who have had diabetes for many, many years may run out of new injection sites as everywhere is a bit lumpy or scarred 

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