The Aging Diabetic: August 17, 2011

Pauline Miller is one of a growing number of Americans growing old with diabetes.

“I was at a medical fair, and they take your blood and everything and that’s when they discovered I was 296 and they said they thought I should go see a doctor about it.”

After years of living with the disease, Pauline is feeling the affects.

“I have neuropathy in the feet, I have problems with the heart and blood pressure.”

Fast forward to the year 2025 when two-thirds of the diabetic population will be 60 years or older. They tend to have more complications and find managing the disease more complicated.

“As we get a little older and our eyesight starts to fail, that can become a little bit more difficult,” says Sharon Tilbe, a certified diabetes coordinator.

Sharon works with diabetics at Lee Health Solutions.

“One very common way of overcoming that challenge would be an insulin pen, a pre-filled pen where by the person can see more clearly what the number of units are that they’re actually dispensing.”

They can also count clicks to track the number of units they’re administering.

Reading glucose meters can be tricky too but there are solutions for that.

“Instead of just showing the number of what the blood sugar is reading you hear a little voice saying ‘125’ and that certainly is nice for people who are visually challenged. Within the realm of meters there are some with a small digital screen and some with a larger digital screen,” says Tilbe.

Even the size and shape of a meter can make a difference.

“If hands are becoming arthritic it may be easier to hold a larger meter than one that’s really tiny,” says Tilbe.

Just a few modifications making it easier for the aging diabetic.

“I’ve gotten along as you can see, I’m still going,” says Miller.