Diabetes in the Elderly

Due to the increased morbidity and mortality associated with weight loss, Dietitians now agree that dietary restrictions on elderly residents with diabetes, are not warranted. The risks of long term complications of diabetes in older people is small compared to the risk of malnutrition.

Explaining to residents and their families that it is not only safe but beneficial to lift dietary restrictions can be difficult, especially as restrictions may have been in place for many years and emphasized by health professionals.

As appetites decrease, a wider variety of foods may need to be consumed, some of which may have been previously restricted. This is acceptable. Blood glucose levels will still be monitored and hypo and hyperglycaemia will be treated however control is more likely to be achieved through changing medication rather than through diet, to ensure that residents meet their nutrition needs.

As every case is different, Dietitians are able to work with residents and their families, staff and the foodservice to ensure that diabetes management strikes the right balance between controlling blood glucose, meeting dietary requirements and maintaining quality of life.