The American Association of Diabetes Educators released a new position statement to help guide diabetes educators on how to help older adults with diabetes. The position paper, “Special Considerations in the Management and Education of Older Persons with Diabetes,” is now available.
“We updated our position because the U.S. population is aging and AADE aims to position itself and its membership to recognize and adequately accommodate the unique needs of the elderly population in the future,” said Lana Vukovljak, MS, MA, chief executive officer of the AADE.
Vukovljak said the new position reaffirms the previous AADE position that diabetes educators are integral to geriatric care. “It will help educators and others understand the important role that educators play in helping older adults with diabetes achieve optimal outcomes,” she said.
The new position reflects rapidly changing health care demographics in the U.S. According to background information in the statement, by 2030, the number of older Americans will have more than doubled to 70 million. Age-related factors may interfere with self-management of diabetes as most people over 70 years of age will have some deterioration in mental and physical functioning, even if their ability to learn may not be impaired.
The new statement also incorporates recent evidence from the diabetes literature while also addressing the role of the educator with an older population, said Karen Fitzner, PhD, Chief Science and Practice Officer for the AADE. She stressed that the new position also explicitly addresses the AADE7™ Self-care Behaviors as they bear on an older patient population.