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Care Plan for the Elderly with Diabetes: Tips for Caregivers

Care Plan for the Elderly with Diabetes: Tips for Caregivers

Attending to seniors with type 2 diabetes can be challenging. Here are some tips to keep in mind to help you develop a suitable care plan for the elderly with diabetes.

Learn as much as you can about Type 2 DM and your patient

The key to creating an effective care plan for the elderly with diabetes is to think of the condition and how it affects your patient.

Look for credible sources that offer a detailed but straightforward explanation about type 2 diabetes.

Read about its causes and risk factors, symptoms, treatment and management, and complications. Afterward, get to know your patient and see what details apply to them.

Being equipped with knowledge about diabetes and how it affects the elderly gives you the correct tools to help your patient better manage their condition.

For instance, knowing the warning signs of low blood sugar and high blood sugar helps you immediately attend to your patient, preventing complications from happening.

care plan for elderly with diabetes

Pay attention to grooming

Diabetes education for caregivers includes a deep understanding of how proper grooming can prevent certain complications.

To help you formulate a good care plan for the elderly with diabetes, take note of the following tips:

Skin Care

Even the smallest wound, such as a cut or callus, can lead to severe infections if they are not treated well. And since dry skin is more prone to injuries, the best practice to prevent wounds is to keep the skin moisturized.

Help your patient bathe with mild soap and warm water, and ask the doctor for safe and effective skin moisturizer.

Additionally, regularly check the elderly person’s skin for signs of wounds, such as blisters and sores. This practice is essential, especially for patients who have nerve damage as they might not feel the wound.

To help them assess their skin, provide them with a handheld mirror that allows them to see hard-to-reach areas.

Oral Care

Diabetes patients have a higher risk of developing oral problems like gum disease and dry mouth.

As a part of the care plan for the elderly with diabetes, make sure that the patient:

  • Uses a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Brushes their teeth after every meal
  • Flosses once a day

Foot Care

Seniors with Type 2 Diabetes can suffer from different problems that include corns and calluses, blisters, ulcers, and athlete’s foot.

To prevent these conditions, include the following tips in your care plan for the elderly with diabetes:

  • Help the patient trim their nails regularly. Do not round off nail corners; trim the nails straight across.
  • After clipping, smooth nail edges gently with an emery board.
  • After bathing, make sure that the entire feet are dry, including the areas between the toes.
  • Apply a doctor-approved moisturizer on the feet.
  • Advise you’re the elderly to never go on without shoes, even at home.
  • The choice of footwear is also important: opt for closed, soft-leather shoes with cushioned soles. Discourage the patient from wearing open-toed shoes or sandals.

Diabetes and Foot Complications: What You Should Know

Make lifestyle changes together

To some extent, diabetes education for caregivers includes joining the patient in making positive lifestyle changes. In the care plan for the elderly with diabetes, focus on the following:

Healthy Diet

Follow the meal plan provided by the patient’s healthcare team as this is geared towards promoting healthy blood glucose levels.

Encourage them to eat at the same time each day by having meals with them. As their sugar can suddenly drop, make sure that they are not skipping meals. It’s helpful to keep small snacks handy, like hard-boiled eggs, sliced apples with peanut butter, avocado, and almonds.

Exercise

Exercising not only helps them maintain a healthy weight, but it can also improve the patient’s insulin sensitivity.

Since it’s highly likely that the doctor has already prepared an exercise program for the elderly, help them perform the physical activity by doing the exercise together.

Finally, discourage them from doing a new exercise routine that has not been approved by their physician.

Hydration

Drinking water helps regulate blood sugar levels. Encourage the elderly patient to have plenty of non-caffeinated drinks.

And of course, make sure that they are not drinking sugary fluids, such as soda and processed fruit juice.

Stress management

According to studies, stress can affect blood sugar levels. Hence, in your care plan for the elderly with diabetes, include stress management.

Teach them how to better handle stress by performing relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, meditation, and journaling. If they welcome it, join them in doing calming activities like walking and listening to soft music.

And most importantly, do not bring your stress into the elderly person’s life.

Monitor their blood sugar levels daily

If your patient can monitor their blood sugar on their own, empower them to continue doing so.

Offer your assistance by giving them reminders when they seem to forget that they’re supposed to check their blood glucose levels. You can also keep all the devices for sugar monitoring in one convenient place.

Finally, know their target glucose levels and alert the doctor if there are some notable changes in your records.

Keep track of their medications

Ensuring that the patient is taking their medications is a vital part of a good care plan for the elderly with diabetes. Your involvement, of course, depends on how capable your patient is. As much as possible, let them handle their medications to promote independence.

For elderly patients with type 2 diabetes who receive insulin therapy, remember that administering the injection at the right time is crucial. Your patient might also need frequent blood sugar testing if they are under insulin therapy.

Type 2 Diabetes: Insulin Injection Guidelines

Key Takeaways

The first thing to do when caring for an elderly with diabetes is to educate yourself about the condition and how it affects your patient. Afterward, help your patient in proper grooming, making positive lifestyle changes, sugar monitoring, and in making sure that they are taking their medications as ordered by the doctor.

Learn more about Type 2 Diabetes here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Caring for Seniors with Diabetes, Advice for families and caregivers
https://www.care.com/senior-care-caring-for-seniors-with-diabetes-p1143-q317305.html
Accessed October 28, 2020

The Caregiver’s Ultimate Checklist For Diabetes Management
https://www.seniorsolutionshomecare.com/the-caregivers-ultimate-checklist-for-diabetes-management/
Accessed October 28, 2020

8 PRACTICAL WAYS TO MANAGE DIABETES IN SENIORS
https://dailycaring.com/8-practical-ways-to-manage-diabetes-in-seniors/
Accessed October 28, 2020

Patient/Family/Caregiver Teaching Checklist for Diabetes Education
https://www.healthquality.va.gov/guidelines/CD/diabetes/DiabetesTeachingChecklist.pdf
Accessed October 28, 2020

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Feb 22
Medically reviewed by Elfred Landas, M.D.
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