Diabetes is becoming increasingly common among older adults, affecting an estimated 1 in 3 people aged 60 and above in Singapore. In Type 2 Diabetes, the body is unable to use the insulin and the glucose remains in the blood, causing high blood glucose levels.
Elderly with diabetes are more susceptible to developing serious health complications, such as hearing loss, vision problems, kidney disease and mobility difficulties. Fortunately, many of these complications can be avoided if the condition is properly managed.
Tips for Managing Diabetes
1. Improve blood glucose control
Elderly with diabetes are advised to test their blood glucose levels regularly. Poorly managed blood glucose levels in the long-run can lead to cataracts, bone and joint damage, heart disease and permanent nerve damage. For those who are prescribed insulin, doctors usually recommend testing before meals at and bedtime.
2. Replace refined grains with whole grains
Refined grains such as white rice raise the blood glucose level more quickly compared to healthier whole grain alternatives such as brown rice. Experts recommend replacing 20% of white rice with brown rice and soaking brown rice in water for at least 15 minutes before cooking with white rice.
3. Schedule regular check-ups and eye assessments
Schedule 2 – 4 yearly diabetes check-ups to stay on top of managing their condition. Doctors will look out for signs of health complications such as nerve damage and heart disease. Eye exams are also crucial for detecting eye conditions early.
4. Pay attention to their feet
Looking after their feet is especially important for your diabetic parent, whose feet are particularly vulnerable to infection.
What you can do to kick out foot problems:
Check their feet every day for blisters, cuts, sores or swelling
Wash their feet daily in lukewarm water and gently dry their feet. Avoid soaking their feet for prolonged periods as this might result in dry skin.
Consult your parent’s healthcare professional if a cut or blister fails to heal within a few days
Avoid going barefoot and put on bedroom slippers when indoors