How to Help Manage Diabetes in Seniors
Diabetes is a condition that occurs when glucose levels in the blood are high. The disease arises when the pancreas does not make enough insulin or the body does not respond well to it. Diabetes affects people of different ages, and the effects are lifelong. However, diabetes in seniors is manageable with lifestyle changes and medication.
Types of Diabetes
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases highlights three types of diabetes, which include:
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and happens when the body does not make or respond to insulin.
Type 1 Diabetes
This type of diabetes is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. It is often diagnosed in young adults and children but can develop at any age.
This type occurs in some people during pregnancy and may disappear after pregnancy as well. Gestational diabetes predisposes these women and their children to type 2 diabetes later in life.
How Do I Lower My Risk of Diabetes?
There are risk factors for diabetes that you cannot change, such as race, age, and family history. Type 2 diabetes is complex and has many contributing factors. Fortunately, there are some ways to lower the risk of diabetes, which include:
- Quit smoking
- Take medications as directed by the healthcare practitioner
- Limit the intake of alcohol
- Eat a regular healthy diet
- Managing stress levels
- Getting physically active
- Getting adequate sleep and treating sleep disorders
- Controlling blood pressure
5 Ways to Prevent Diabetes in Seniors
Seniors with diabetes can manage the condition by taking appropriate medications and making healthy lifestyle choices. Some senior care health tips to control type 2 diabetes include:
1. Customizing Blood Sugar Control
A diabetes care team should set blood sugar targets for individuals to balance the risk of low and high blood sugar levels. The goal is to use a blood sugar control method that works without lowering blood sugar levels.
2. Encourage Daily Physical Activity
The American Diabetes Association states that physical activity lowers blood pressure, diabetes risk, and blood sugar. Physical activity can be short daily walks, slow jogs, or any activity that boosts a senior's energy.
3. Taking Care of the Feet
Diabetes also causes neuropathy, making it hard to feel a foot injury, and if untreated, it may cause a foot infection. A foot care routine, such as a daily check for cuts and cracks, will keep the feet healthy.
4. Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight
Seniors who are overweight can lower their risk for diabetes by reducing between 5-10 % of their body weight.
5. Eating a Balanced Diet
Eating healthy meals at regular times of the day will lower blood sugar levels. Diabetes Canada also recommends that seniors limit their intake of high-fat and sugary foods.
How Do I Manage Diabetes?
Diabetes management involves controlling cholesterol levels, checking kidney function, having eye exams, as well as proper care for teeth and gums. Effective ways to manage diabetes also include:
- Tracking blood sugar levels daily
- Making healthy food choices
- Taking medication as advised
Millions of people live with diabetes, and more people are diagnosed daily. Although diabetes' effects are adverse, seniors can take preventative measures to manage the condition and lead a comfortable life.
If you have a loved one struggling with diabetes, you can utilize the above health tips to manage the disease. You can also contact Elite Home Health Care to learn about our services. Elite Home Health Care has in-home quality caregivers specializing in offering individualized care for people diagnosed with diabetes. In addition to at-home care services, our home health aides offer personalized care plans using the available resource for top-notch care. Contact us at 718.925.2525 today to learn more.
Written by: Leah Ganz
Leah Ganz, RN, BSN is the Director of Patient Services at Elite Home Health Care. She has an extensive background in homecare and previously worked in various specialties including pediatrics, pain managemnet and internal medicine. She oversees allpatient services across Elite's departments.