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Partner's diabetes and aging

Aging inevitably changes the structure of a romantic relationship. It often brings with it other illnesses, some of which may also be related to diabetes.

Aging can pose challenges, for example, with memory, where a person who was previously fully autonomous and responsible for their own care may have to get used to not being able to manage their care alone anymore. Memory challenges can lead to changes in long-used treatment methods, for instance, switching from an insulin pump back to multiple daily injections. This can be a difficult issue, even a crisis, when the previous treatment method has worked well and the person has felt safe with it.

Aging also changes a person's body image and self-perception. Additional medical conditions, which become more likely as the duration of diabetes increases, can also affect this. Additional conditions not only bring more worry but sometimes also concrete changes to the body, for example, if foot problems lead to amputation in extreme cases or if the person develops renal failure requiring dialysis treatment. It's important to recognize that all such changes also affect the romantic relationship in their own ways.

As one ages, the role of the partner and close ones in diabetes management often becomes greater than before. At the same time, the partner may have their own health concerns related to aging. The growing concern for the partner's well-being and coping can significantly affect the partner's own well-being alongside these concerns. There may also be grown-up children in the family, whose lives the parents still want to support and care for. Thus, the role of the close ones may become even more burdensome with aging, and it's important that support from outside meets the increased need as proactively as possible.