3 Tips for a Healthier Life with Diabetes in Seniors
Diabetes can be difficult for everyone, but it’s especially challenging for seniors. You may find it harder to prepare meals and cook, or that you’re less able to exercise than you once were. The good news is that there are many ways to manage diabetes effectively as part of your daily routines and habits. Following these tips is a great way not only to keep your blood sugar under control but also to avoid the complications that are more common in seniors with diabetes. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Know what’s normal
Know what’s normal for your body.
While diabetes may be a part of your life, it is not the whole story. You’re also a person with interests, feelings, and a unique set of challenges. Diabetes is one aspect of who you are — but it isn’t the only one! By asking friends or family to provide support in different ways, the relationship can remain a source of both support and new ideas.
If you have diabetes, your doctor may screen you for depression or cognitive impairment. It’s important to know the warning signs of these conditions so that you can get help if needed.
2. Pay attention to your feet
A wide range of symptoms can indicate diabetes-related problems with your feet. Some of these include sores, cuts, and blisters; swelling; redness; numbness; pain; infections; changes in temperature (for example, the feet feeling cold or warm when they shouldn’t be); changes in color (for example, a darkening of the skin); and changes in texture (for example, an increase in calluses).
In addition to watching for these signs and symptoms of foot health problems caused by diabetes—which may also indicate other medical conditions such as circulatory issues—you should also consider visiting a podiatrist or doctor if you experience any numbness or pain that comes on suddenly rather than gradually. If your doctor diagnoses you with peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage), he or she will likely prescribe medication to slow its progression so it doesn’t cause further complications later on down the line.
3. Plan ahead with food and diabetes management
For prediabetics and diabetics alike, it is important to plan ahead on what to eat and how to regulate one’s diabetes.
You can avoid problems, stress, mistakes, and surprises by planning ahead. Planning ahead also reduces the potential for embarrassment.
- One way seniors can plan for a meal is by taking their glucose meter with them when they go out to eat. That way they can measure their blood sugar levels during the meal and know how much insulin they need in order to keep their levels within range after eating.
- Seniors who have Type 1 diabetes may need more frequent meals than those who have type 2 because of their faster metabolism rate. The best thing you can do is take your measurements on a regular basis so that you know what level of insulin you need at each meal time and snack period throughout the day – just like when measuring food portions before every meal.
Diabetes can be managed with the right habits (and help)
Diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar (glucose) levels are too high. In type 1 diabetes, your pancreas produces little or no insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas either doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t use it properly. As a result of these changes, glucose builds up in your bloodstream instead of being absorbed into cells to be used for energy.
If you have diabetes, you may be able to manage it with healthy lifestyle choices—but if left unchecked for years, this condition can lead to serious health issues including heart disease and stroke.
Fortunately, there are ways seniors can live well with diabetes:
- Exercise regularly: Exercise helps your body use insulin more efficiently, which can improve blood sugar control. It also helps you manage weight and cholesterol levels—and it reduces your risk for other health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
- Lose weight: If you’re overweight, losing even a little bit of weight can help improve your body’s response to insulin. And if you have type 2 diabetes, losing weight—especially around your abdomen—can help lower blood sugar levels and reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Diabetes may be a serious condition, especially for our seniors, but it doesn’t have to significantly alter your lifestyle. Being aware of your condition and knowing when to get help can allow you to live a healthy life, full of the activities that you love.
At American Grand Assisted Living, we take care of our residents, but we also promote their independence. Our assisted living feels like home, and that’s what makes us special. If you’re interested in learning more about American Grand Assisted Living or if you’d like to tour our community, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to meet you!