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Diabetes Education for the Elderly

Older type 2 diabetes patients benefit from diabetes education…. 

Recently, medicine has increased its focus on prevention and educational interventions. With the increase of diabetes mellitus among all age populations, with particular impact among the elderly, recent research has focused on the role of education in preventing diabetes and related complications.

In a recent study, researchers examined the efficacy of an exercise and diet education program on elderly patients with type 2 diabetes. Caucasian men and women between the ages of 60-91 years of age (average of 76.42 yr) were included in the program for analysis. Patients attended interviews where they received educational information regarding exercise, nutrition, and self-management of diabetes-related complications. Monthly assessment occurred during which patient perception of diabetes, self-management, and social support were evaluated.

Researchers found that patient management of diabetes and co-morbidities outcomes relies on social support from family and caregivers as well as diet and exercise in addition to medication therapy. Patients who had more frequent contact with educational systems were more likely to change their lifestyle and have better self-esteem, disease prevention and quality of life. Results of the educational program revealed better control of blood glucose and awareness of diabetes symptoms and complications.

Practice Pearls:
  • Modern medicine is increasing focus on preventative tactics, especially in the area of diabetes management.
  • Patient management of diabetes and co-morbidities outcomes relies on social support from family and caregivers as well as diet and exercise, in addition to medication therapy.
  • Diabetes education programs may increase glycemic control and awareness of diabetes symptoms and complications among elderly patients with type 2 diabetes.

[Felea, M.G. et al. Educational Outcomes in the Rehabilitation of Elderly Patients with Diabetes Mellitus. Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences. 2013;92:344-348]