Diabetic retinopathy and other related conditions are among the most common complications of diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease can lead to blindness if left untreated, which is why it’s so important that caregivers pay close attention to any changes in their loved one’s vision. Resident home assistants can play a big role in helping keep an eye on a senior’s sugar levels and identifying any concerning symptoms. These professionals have access to a lot of information about their clients, including what medications they take, nutrition plans and general health records. With this knowledge, they can help identify risk factors for complications as well as recommend solutions for avoiding them. If you or someone you know has type 1 or 2 diabetes and might benefit from assisted living services, read on to learn how you can use technology as part of your care plan.
How Diabetes Can Affect Vision
Most of the time, diabetes won’t lead to any changes in your eyesight. However, if blood sugar levels are not properly managed, it can lead to diabetic retinopathy and other complications that affect the eyes, including cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common complication and is responsible for 85% of all vision loss in people with diabetes. It’s believed that diabetic retinopathy is brought on by damage to the tiny blood vessels in the retina. As these vessels become more fragile, they can leak blood and fluid. Once the fluid hardens, it creates a deposit on the retina and leads to blurred or distorted vision. If left untreated, this condition can progress to retinal detachment and hemorrhaging. When it’s caught in time, diabetic retinopathy is treatable and often reversible.
Why is Care for Diabetic Seniors Important?
Seniors with diabetes are at a higher risk for health complications and disability, so it’s important for them to be under the care of a medical professional. Diabetes that is not properly managed can lead to kidney failure, cardiovascular disease, amputations and blindness. It can also place extra strain on your vision and increase the risk of diabetic retinopathy. Seniors also tend to rely on their vision more than younger people, so any loss of sight can have a significant impact on their quality of life. Seniors who are managing their diabetes may have trouble checking their own blood sugar levels. If your loved one has poor vision or is having trouble reading the numbers on their blood glucose monitor, you could be called on to help assist with these tasks. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the warning signs of complications. Early detection can help prevent vision loss, and having an extra pair of eyes on the lookout can help you identify issues sooner.
Smartphones as a Tool for Caregivers
Seniors are increasingly turning to smartphones as their primary source of communication, so it’s important to use this technology as part of your care plan. With a mobile device, you can communicate with your loved one’s doctor, keep track of their medication schedule, monitor their blood sugar levels and more. You can also use your phone to keep track of your own schedule and important reminders, such as doctor appointments. There are a number of apps that can help caregivers monitor diabetic retinopathy: – Retinopathy Screening: This app allows you to conduct an eye exam with just a smartphone. You can use the flash to take pictures of your loved one’s retina and receive a diagnosis. – Retinopathy Tracker: This app allows you to keep track of your loved one’s blood sugar levels and report any concerning symptoms. You can also use it to chart their medication schedule and monitor vision changes. – My Retinopathy: This app allows you to keep track of your loved one’s blood sugar levels and report any concerning symptoms. You can also use it to chart their medication schedule and monitor vision changes. – Medscape Diabetes: This app allows you to consult your loved one’s medical records and follow their doctor’s instructions. It can also help you track their medication schedule and monitor vision changes.
Using GPS Tracking to Monitor Movements
If you’re caring for an elderly diabetic who lives alone, you may want to consider tracking their movements. Because diabetes can lead to fatigue, seniors with the disease may be prone to falling, which can result in serious injuries. You may want to consider installing a device that allows you to remotely monitor your loved one’s movements. These devices are often easy to use and can send you alerts if there is a sudden change in your loved one’s patterns. You can also use tracking devices to help your loved one stay connected with their community. Seniors who are still driving may want to consider installing a device that allows them to remotely answer calls, receive GPS directions and send out information about their daily schedule.
Voice-Based Recognition to Track Medication Use
While you can track your loved one’s blood sugar levels and medication use with apps, you may have a hard time getting them to enter the data. If your loved one has poor vision and trouble reading the screen, it can be challenging for them to keep track of their medication schedule. You can try using voice recognition software, which allows you to dictate data into your phone and have it translated into text. Alternatively, you can ask your loved one’s doctor to prescribe a pill box with built-in alarms that can help remind them to take their medication.
As people age, it’s important to pay attention to symptoms that can signal complications or other health issues. Seniors with diabetes should be especially vigilant, as these conditions are more likely to lead to serious complications. A diabetic’s loved ones can play an important role in their care by monitoring blood sugar levels and reporting any concerning symptoms. You can use smartphones and other modern devices, such as voice recognition software, to make this process easier.