Managing diabetes and dementia, a challenging duo: a scoping review

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This paper aims to describe experiences and challenges when managing diabetes along with dementia from the perspectives of those living with these conditions, their informal carers and health care professionals.

The scoping review included studies published within the last 10 years (2012–2022) from EBSCO Research Databases: CINAHL, Health Business, Soc Index, ERIC, Medline, Information Science & Technology Abstracts and a review of reference lists. Three hundred and fifty-six papers were identified of which 11 studies met the inclusion criteria that focused on the experiences of managing the comorbidities of diabetes and dementia.

Six papers focused on the implications of those individuals diagnosed with both conditions, four on implications for their informal carers (unpaid), two included both the individuals and their informal carers. There was one study that reported experiences of health care professionals. Individuals faced extraordinary challenges managing both conditions to perform activities of self-care such as taking medications, monitoring glucose levels, healthy eating, exercising and attending appointments. Informal carers reported that caring for both conditions was burdensome, sometimes overwhelming and they wanted more support from family and patients’ health care providers.

This scoping review revealed that many individuals and their informal carers were struggling with the impact of these comorbid conditions. Challenges such as lack of information and support were evident but there were few examples of solutions to improve diabetes management in those with dementia. To provide holistic care we need to integrate knowledge and skills from the areas of diabetes, mental health and social care. There is very little information relating to the experiences of health care professionals who work with those living with these conditions. Copyright © 2023 John Wiley & Sons.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-48
Number of pages9
JournalPractical Diabetes
Issue number4
Early online date31 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work was supported by the Health & Social Care Research and Development Division of the Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland – Grant Number COM/5537/19 – and Florence Nightingale Foundation, England, as part of a research intern scholarship. With thanks to the librarians Paul McCabe and Karren Farrell, Western Health & Social Care Trust.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • Diabetes
  • dementia
  • informal carers
  • health professionals
  • scoping review
  • diabetes


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