Older people in their 60s and 70s with diabetes benefited just as much as younger diabetics by attending classes to learn how to keep their blood sugar in check, according to a study in Diabetes Care.
About 27% of people over 65 have diabetes. This has spurred interest among doctors in finding the best way to help their older patients. Do older adults respond better to individual diabetes counseling rather than group settings?
The 222 participants in the study were age 18 to 75, and all were having trouble keeping their blood sugar in check. They were chosen at random to receive education about nutrition, exercise, and medications either in group classes or one-on-one counseling sessions with a diabetes educator.
Group education was just as effective for improving blood sugar control in participants age 60 to 75 as it was in those younger than 60. In fact, the improvement was slightly greater in the older people who attended the group classes. Diabetes education is widely available, though generally underutilized. Medicare pays for up to 10 hours of initial diabetes counseling and two hours per year afterward.