Is Diabetes Different in Older Adults?

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Diabetes occurs when the glucose, or blood sugar, levels get too high. High blood sugar can impact many systems within the body, including the eyes and kidneys. While the disease itself doesn’t work differently in the bodies of seniors, management of the disease can be slightly more complicated than it is for younger people. There are several factors that can make dealing with diabetes more difficult for your older family member, such as those listed below.

Memory Problems

People with diabetes are at a greater risk for memory loss. Unfortunately, memory loss can also make it harder for them to take adequate care of themselves. Seniors may forget to check their blood sugar or take medications. Missing doses can cause blood sugar to rise and cause damage to tissues.

A senior care provider can help older adults with memory problems to better manage diabetes by reminding them when it is time to check blood sugar or take medications.

Multiple Conditions

Many seniors with diabetes struggle with multiple conditions. This can be, in part, due to the fact that diabetes puts them at risk for other health problems like heart disease, stroke, eye problems, and kidney disease. Having more than one health problem to look after can be a lot of work, requiring multiple medications and medical appointments.

Senior care providers can assist with managing multiple conditions by offering medication reminders, driving the older adult to appointments, and cooking meals that conform to the doctor’s recommendations.

Medication Interactions

Because older adults are more likely to take more than one prescription medication as well as over the counter medicines and supplements, they could experience a dangerous medication interaction. To prevent this from occurring, it is important that your aging relative has a complete and updated list of all of the medications and supplements they use.

A senior care provider can assist your older family member with keeping their medication list up to date and reminding them to bring it along to doctor appointments and the pharmacy.


About one-third of people with diabetes experience depression, and older adults are at a higher risk for depression. It can sometimes be harder to spot depression in seniors because some of the symptoms can be mistaken for signs of aging. Some of the things to watch for are:

  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Problems with concentration or memory.
  • Seeming more tired than usual.
  • Changes in weight.
  • Disinterest in activities they once enjoyed.

A senior care provider can help to watch for signs of depression and report them to family caregivers. In addition, a senior care provider can be a source of comfort and support, involving the older adult in activities and making sure they eat healthy meals that will improve both their mental and physical health.


If you or an aging loved one is considering senior care in Herndon, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.