Diabetes is a potentially serious- and even fatal- disease that affects one-in-four older adults in the US. Once an aging adult is diagnosed with diabetes, keeping their blood sugar levels normalized becomes a daily priority. If managed properly, most seniors with diabetes can still enjoy active, independent lives. On the other hand, mismanaged or uncontrolled diabetes can cause complications that affect the heart, blood vessels, eyes, nerves, and other parts of the body. If you are currently caring for an aging-in-place loved one with diabetes, here are 5 great ways to ensure their quality-of-life remains high.
What is Diabetes?
When you hear the term “diabetes”, it’s referring to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). In simple terms, diabetes prevents the body from efficiently using the energy that’s found in the foods we eat.
There are also two kinds of chronic diabetes, type 1 and type 2- both of which may cause too much glucose to build up in the bloodstream. Excess blood sugar isn’t healthy for the body. Although most diabetics are type 2, both types share similar symptoms but also those that are quite different. When mismanaged, chronic diabetes can cause serious health problems and even death.
Diabetes Management Tips for Seniors
As an informal caregiver for someone with diabetes, managing their disease starts with these 5 key steps:
One proven way to keep blood glucose levels normalized is by following a healthy diet that’s low in sugar and saturated fats. Working with a registered dietician that is well-versed on the ADA dietary guidelines is always a great place to start. If you don’t have time to prepare healthier, more nutritious foods for your loved one there are meal delivery services that cater to seniors with special dietary needs.
The American Dietary Association (ADA) recommends sustained exercise for at least 20 minutes, 5 days a week. If your loved one is otherwise healthy enough to workout, encourage them to participate in low-impact forms of exercise like Yoga, Tai Chi, water aerobics, swimming or walking.
Manage their meds
Poor medication management is a common problem for many seniors, including those living with diabetes. Drugs designed to normalize blood sugar levels are involved in many medication-related hospitalizations. As their caregiver, help your senior create an effective medication management program. It should help them remembe