By Leslie Krongold, EdD
I was diagnosed with DM1 in 1998, at the age of 36. There was little medical information available at the time. A table graph identified the adult-onset DM1 category with a projected demise between the ages of 48 and 55. My mother passed away when she was 55, so those figures had credibility to me.
Fast forward to my 56th birthday! I celebrated big as I considered it a milestone and blessing to have outlived my mother.
The next year, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel, Patients Report Out: Living With DM Over 50, at the 2019 MDF Annual Conference. I enjoyed getting to share the spotlight with other elder DM friends. We’re defying the odds! We aspire to give those younger than us hope that it is possible to age gracefully with a disability.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit two years ago, I knew it would be worthwhile to start a special virtual support group for older adults with DM1. So, in December of 2021, with MDF’s support, I launched a monthly Zoom group specifically for people over 50, who are living with DM1.
Our meetings are open to people from all around the country who are over 50 and living with DM1. It cheers me up to see the 5-7 people in each meeting forming bonds, sharing their stories, the good and the bad, laughing, and helping each other cope with the variety of changes that inevitably occur in our daily lives and in our bodies.
From the confidential survey passed to the group, it seems people are satisfied with the “support and fellowship between the attendees” and with the underlying principle of the group, which “reinforces that we are not alone and that a full life is possible.”
If you have DM1 and are at least 50 years old, I invite you to join us!
Connect outside of meetings and keep the conversation going in our private "Virtual Support Group for Adults Over 50 Living with DM1" Facebook Group.