Diet and Education in the Control of Diabetes in the Elderly

Tess Montada-Atin, RN, CDE
Care Leader

Marilyn Mori, RD
Lina Medeiros, MSW
Diabetes Education Centre,
Toronto Western Hospital
University Health Network
Toronto, ON

Diabetes is a chronic illness with significant short and long term complications.1 The Diabetes Education Centre (DEC) at the Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, supports people with diabetes, their family and friends to better understand and manage diabetes. The 1998 Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) for the management of diabetes in Canada, recommends initial and ongoing education for the person with diabetes as part of diabetes care and not just as an adjunct to treatment. Diabetes Education should be recognized as a life long commitment.2 Comprehensive management of diabetes should be planned around an interdisciplinary diabetes health care team,1-3 which can be through a DEC. To learn and use the varied complex skills required, people with diabetes need the support of such a team of expert professionals.1 Interdisciplinary interventions have been shown to improve glycemic control in the elderly. Studies have suggested that a team approach toward older people with diabetes improves blood glucose control, quality of life and adherence to therapy.3

Factors that affect glycemic control are diet, diabetes medications and exercise.