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Educational Outcomes in the Rehabilitation of Elderly Patients with Diabetes Mellitus

Background Diabetes mellitus is a major health problem in all age populations, with complications that adversely affect the autonomy and quality of life of patients and their kindred ones, with a heavy demand on health care resources. Sedentary lifestyle, urbanization, eating habits and increasing obesity have been identified as independent risk factors for diabetes. Aim of study To establish the effectiveness of a daily walk and diet education intervention in order to look for optimum ways to change and maintain a healthy lifestyle and quality of life. Sources of research The study population consisted of Caucasian men and women ranging in age from 60 to 91 years old (mean=76.42 years old) with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus of duration at least one year, attending two primary care offices in Iasi, Romania. Patients had a clinical and laboratory follow-up assessment every 1 to 2 months. For each of them, open interviews were conducted with consistent educative information offered related to ongoing nutrition, self-management and physical activity. This data was subsequently analyzed both in a quantitative and qualitative manner. Main Argument Outcomes of diabetes and co-morbidities management rely not only on drug medication, which depends on adverse effects like hypoglycaemia, the elderly patients’ income and their compliance, but also on human support (family, carers), non-pharmacological strategies like diet, and cardio-metabolic rehabilitation through exercise. Conclusions Results showed an improved glycaemic control, a higher awareness of symptoms and the complications of diabetes. Apart from patients’ self motivation, more frequent contact with them is necessary to encourage better self-esteem, disease prevention and quality of life. Patients who changed their lifestyle formed one important link in educating the closed ones. The role of formal and informal carers is more difficult and needs a different approach from that for younger people, taking into account co-morbidities, age-related changes in functional and mental abilities, occupational history and socioeconomic status that influence health.

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Web of science - exported 12/7/2016
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