Diabetes is essentially a disease associated with the body’s functional metabolism and is often characterized by recurring episodes of hyperglycemia leading to absolute or relative insulin deficiency (English & Williams, 2001). According to the World Health Organization, there are various distinct forms of diabetes: type Diabetes mellitus, type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, type 3 diabetes mellitus, and type 4 Diabetes Mellitus among others. In this paper, our discussion will more towards Diabetes 2, which occurs due to relative insulin resistance or deficiency. According to worldwide statistics over 124 million people have diabetes, of this group 97% are victims of diabetes 2 and this projected to rise to 221 million by the end of 2010 (English & Williams, 2001). The prevalence of type 2 diabetes shows a variation linked mainly to racial, and age related traits. Types 2 primarily affect older people and currently in the United States 43% of those affected are over 65 years of age (Chalton & Pumkot, 2010). The condition represents a major cause of morbidity among the seniors population. Presently, the global prevalence among seniors stands at 15.3%, while a further 6.9% are yet to be diagnosed (Iwata & Munshi, 2009).
The seniors are the most affected as a result of the deteriorating health and and functionality of their body mechanism. For instance, “the group of adults with diabetes who are 75 years of age and older is the fastest growing population among all age groups with diabetes (Iwata & Munshi, 2009). Some of the risk factors associated with these characteristics include a decreasing cognitive ability leading to a decrease in the ability of the seniors to take care of themselves. This leads to significant psychosocial problems, as a result of neglect and the common association with old age. This potentially results in a logistical challenge caring for the affected old persons due to the associated costs of management. In a care based study it was established that 6 – 17% of older diabetic type 2 patients received regular help from family members with basic needs for daily life, while 37 – 48 % with instrumental needs (Sinclair, 2009). This portrays the gap that exists making it a huge social concern among all population.
The persons responsible for caring for the seniors face significant challenges in the course of administering care for the old victims. In a oldest old study for community dwelling elderly group, it was established that persons without diabetes got an average of 6.1 hours of informal care, persons with diabetes and having no form of medication got 10.5 hours, persons with diabetes having oral medication got 10/1 hours, persons with diabetes put on insulin got 14.4 hours (Sinclair, 2009). This data shows the manner in which care givers and family members are forced to spend a significant amount of their time caring for elderly victims. Caregivers are hence exposed to stress while at times family members are unable to participate in economic activities to adequately support their families.
Elsie is my maternal grandmother in essence; they and my real grandmother were fondly sisters. Who said Diabetes is a crippling illness? Elsie has lived with the condition for over two progressive decades. She says when she was first diagnosed with the connection in 1990 at first the issue of changing her diet to accommodate these changes was such a challenging decisions. She could not take care of herself and was hence taken care of by family and care givers. She admits, “…at times I would sympathize with my care giver as she hardly had time for her 5 year old son who needs her most.”
Social service workers need to join a supportive groups where they primarily share their daily experiences concentrating on both positive and negative psychosocial health elements. They can also participate in talk shows to sensitize those affected with the condition and constantly recruit non-diabetic elderly victims into their group. Their main aim was:
To handle the resulting social labeling associated with the condition.
To socially motivate members on adherence to treatment regimens and dietary requirements.
Community resources that can be used by the seniors in the community include the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA), which is found on address B.C Yukon Division Office, 1385 West 8th Avenue, Suite 360, Vancouver (Diabetes Information & Support Centre, 2005). Others include family doctor and Canadian Community Care access Centers (CACC) setup through Canadian groups can help the seniors through formulation of specific mechanisms that can be used to administer critical care. They can also offer financial support considering the expenses involved through community pooling and contributions. The local diabetic association can for instance offer community members a chance to offer voluntary care to elderly diabetic patients. This can be emphasized through fronting formation community-oriented diabetic support groups.
Prevention strategies at macro level include the institution of continuing educational programs for young, old, and middle age non-diabetic victims on the potential effects of diabetics. Mezzo level prevention strategies include the institution of community based interactive programs focusing on the need for healthy diets, better nutritional provisions, emerging medicinal perspectives, and care and support. Micro prevention strategies include family level interventions, for instance, significant participation of family members in taking care of the seniors diabetic at the family level. (Barnes, 2004).
Some of the treatment strategies include insulin injection for absolute insulin resistance cases. Other treatment strategies include the utilization of various dietary options especially those containing roughages and nutritional supplements. Emerging side effects mental suppression, fatigue, and development of a social dilemma.