The effectiveness of diabetes education programs for older patients and their spouses

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1989 Nov;37(11):1023-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1989.tb06915.x.


Improvements in diabetes knowledge, psychosocial functioning, and metabolic control were assessed following a six-week diabetes education program for older male patients (aged 65 to 82 years) and their spouses. Before and after the program, scored questionnaires were administered to patients and their wives regarding knowledge, quality of life, stress, family involvement in diabetes care, and patient involvement in social activities. The patients were again assessed six months later. Results were compared to those of younger adult male patients (aged 28 to 64 years). The older patients significantly increased their knowledge of diabetes (P less than .05), and to an extent equal to that of younger individuals. Reduction in stress correlated with their increase in knowledge (r = 0.9; P less than .05) and their improved diet-related quality of life (r = 0.7; P less than .02). A decrease in stress was still evident six months after the program P less than .01). Perceived quality of life for areas requiring greater life-style modification (diet and exercise) increased (P less than .01), and was maintained at six months. In contrast, younger patients reported decreases in perceived quality of life (P less than .05). Older patients with participating spouses, compared to those without, showed greater improvement in knowledge (P less than .02), increase in family involvement (P less than .05), less stress (P less than .02), and improvement in metabolic control of diabetes (P less than .001). The program increased spouses' knowledge and perceived involvement in the care of their diabetic partners (P less than .01). This study suggests that diabetes education is an effective intervention for elderly patients and their spouses.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chicago
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Quality of Life
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*