When it comes to older adults with diabetes, factors such as frailty, polypharmacy and altered metabolism can present a variety of challenges when it comes to diabetes management. In addition, many of these factors can also precipitate diabetes diagnosis in this population.
Common predisposing factors in older adults include:
Age-related changes in glucosemetabolism, insulin secretion and insulin resistance
Increases in adiposity
Decreases in muscle mass
Co-existing illnesses and increased frailty
As with any condition, the goals of treatment should be personalised to the individual. For older adults with diabetes, adjustment to medications and higher HbA1c targets may be appropriate, with the targets of between 7.5-8% recommended for older individuals with concurrent health problems.
Utilising a variety of assessment tools, employing a multidisciplinary approach and discussing treatment options with older people and their families can help to identify priorities for both management of diabetes and other health issues.
Diabetes Qualified offers a course for Aged Care workers to help them understand diabetes and support the elderly, it can be found here