New Guidelines for Seniors Managing Diabetes are Disrupting How We Think About Low Blood Sugar

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For seniors managing diabetes, surprising new guidelines are changing how we think about blood sugar levels.

The newest guidelines from the Endocrine Society about seniors managing diabetes are surprising, to say the least: lower blood sugar is not necessarily best. And for all those who’ve been keeping a routine of finger pricks, insulin injections, and thorough monitoring of food intake, this change of course may be somewhat tough to swallow.

Known as de-intensification, geriatricians are now often taking the approach with older adults that the benefits to be obtained by aiming for exact blood sugar control aren’t outweighing the health risks inherent with aging and illness. When A1c and glucose levels are kept at minimal levels in the elderly, for instance, it could lead to an increased frequency of hypoglycemia as well as kidney failure.

With as many as one out of three older adults currently identified as having diabetes, these new guidelines are positioned to have an astounding influence on the treatment and management of the disease for seniors, necessitating a shift in mindset for all.

And not unexpectedly, many older diabetics are hesitant to welcome this change. In one patient’s words to Dr. Pei Chen, a geriatrician in the geriatric clinic at the University of California, San Francisco, “I’ve been doing this for 25 years. You don’t need to tell me what to do. I can handle it.”

The new guidelines recommend an increase in A1c from 7 to 7.5% for older adults who are in good health; and up to 8 – 8.5% for anyone with dementia, multiple chronic illnesses, or poor health. It is crucial to note, however, that guidelines are extremely individualized according to various factors, and that at no time should high blood glucose be ignored in the elderly.

JFS Care can help seniors adhere to physicians’ recommendations to manage diabetes and a number of other conditions with professional, customized, in-home care services for seniors. Just a few of the many ways we are able to assist include:

  • Grocery shopping so that the senior has plenty of healthy food choices readily available
  • Meal planning and preparation in adherence to prescribed dietary plans
  • Transportation and accompaniment to health appointments, tests, and procedures
  • Encouragement to participate in physician-approved exercise programs
  • Medication reminders to ensure prescriptions are taken at the proper time as well as in the correct dose
  • And so much more!

We have trained, compassionate caregivers ready to provide home care assistance in Beverly Hills and the surrounding communities; please see our full service area and contact us today. Reach out to us at (213) 383-2273 to ask about an in-home assessment and access a healthier lifestyle for a senior you love.