The American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimates that there are around 12 million diagnosed and undiagnosed seniors in the USA with diabetes, and proper disease management is the most effective way of maintaining a high quality of life. With the right medical treatments, care and lifestyle choices, seniors with diabetes can thrive. Here are some tips and advice from our in home respite care team.
Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
First, there are two types of this disease. Type 1 is usually diagnosed when someone is much younger, as an adult or even as a child, and is the result of the body not producing insulin. It’s is rare, with only 5 percent of the population affected.
The more common version of the disease is Type 2, when the body causes glucose (sugar) levels to rise to higher than normal levels because the body is not using insulin properly. At first, the body tries to create more insulin, but it cannot keep up over time which causes blood glucose levels to keep increasing. The exact causes for the condition are unknown, but genetics and family history are thought to play a role, as do risk factors like excess weight, poor diet and lack of exercise.
The seriousness of diabetes should never be underestimated, as it is not only the seventh most common cause of death in the USA, but also places patients at risk of blindness, circulation problems, limb amputation and organ damage.
How Can Seniors with Diabetes Stay Healthy?
Managing diabetes is a lifelong challenge Here are a few things can help seniors stay independent and avoid the serious health complications of this disease, including:
- Eat a healthy diet. A diet low in sugar (including sugar from fruit) and saturated fats, and high in lean proteins, wholegrains and vegetables is very important for diabetics. It’s worth it to speak to a registered dietician about developing a meal plan that keeps blood sugar stable and in a healthy range.
- Get active. Aerobic exercise is great for managing diabetes, and the ADA recommends 30 minutes a day. Cycling is great for more active seniors, but walking, dancing, aerobics, swimming and yoga are also great options.
- Monitor blood sugar. Seniors are more likely to experience unstable blood sugar and often have more trouble eating proper meals. Some medications can also affect blood sugar levels. This makes it essential to check blood sugar regularly and speak to your doctor about any symptoms like confusion, dizziness, and sweating.
- Self-examine. For diabetics, a small cut or infection can quickly become a big problem, so it’s vital to keep a close eye on any injuries, especially on the feet where it is difficult to see. Caregivers can also help with this exam, or you can attach a small mirror to a grab-stick so you can check without bending over.
Need In Home Respite Care or Full-Time Care? Our Senior Independent Home Care Team Can Help
As part of United Methodist Communities, a non-profit organization in New Jersey, we offer at home care for elderly through trained, experienced nursing and health aide staff to help your loved one. Our respite care and seniors home care services cover everything from companionship and help around the home to 24-hour live-in care, depending on exactly what you and your loved one requires. Our services are scalable and by-the-hour, allowing you to develop a custom care plan.
For more information on respite care and our home health aide services offering, please contact us today or visit our website at https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/Home-Heath-Aid-services
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