Living well with diabetes

Approximately half of the 1.7 million Australians currently living with diabetes are 65 or older. For people with diabetes, the health and lifestyle changes associated with getting older can make it more difficult to manage their condition. But a little extra support can help older people with diabetes live well.

To help prevent short- and long-term health complications, it’s very important for people with diabetes to manage their condition by keeping their blood glucose levels in a healthy range. This is usually achieved through medications, following a healthy diet, maintaining an active lifestyle and having regular check-ups with a diabetes care team.

Recognise the symptoms of early diabetes

Early diagnosis of diabetes is critical to reduce the chances of developing more serious health complications. However, many people do not have obvious symptoms in the early stages of diabetes, and some of the symptoms that do occur may be dismissed as a normal part of getting older. It’s important to pay attention to any changes to your body. Visit your GP if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Going to the toilet more often
  • Being very thirsty and hungry (even when you have eaten)
  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Having cuts/sores/ulcers that heal slowly
  • Itching, skin infections or rashes
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight changes
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches and nausea
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Tingling, pain or numbness in the hands and/or feet.

Tips for managing diabetes

  • Monitor your blood glucose levels (have your doctor review your targets regularly if you are over 65)
  • Make healthy food choices
  • Space meals evenly throughout the day
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Be as active as you can
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Take any diabetes medication as advised by your doctor (even when you feel good)
  • Have regular health checks. Speak to your doctor for more information about how to manage your diabetes.

Additional support to live well at home with diabetes

Baptcare’s home care services can support older people living at home to manage their condition:

  • Help with shopping: to make sure you have plenty of healthy and fresh food in the house
  • Meal preparation: so you have nutritious and tasty meals that you can eat throughout the day
  • Escorted transport: to help you get to and from regular medical appointments with your GP, diabetes educator and specialists
  • Medication prompts: to help you adhere to your diabetes medication as advised by your doctor In-home allied health services: to give you easy access to health services such as podiatry.

The information in this article is not intended to replace medical advice from a health professional. Readers are urged to seek advice from a qualified health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.


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