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Tips on Managing Diabetes in the Golden Years

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According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 25.2 percent of seniors have diabetes, and this number is expected to rise due to increasing obesity rates. A diabetes diagnosis isn’t the end of the world, but it does mean your senior loved one’s body isn’t processing carbohydrates and sugar as well as it should, resulting in high blood sugar levels. When left untreated, diabetes can cause a variety of complications. Here are a few ways your loved one can manage diabetes and take charge of his or her life.

Develop a Treatment Plan 

There are two forms of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas stops working, which means insulin is no longer being released and the body’s ability to convert sugar into energy is affected. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas still makes insulin, but the body is no longer able to properly use it, which results in high blood sugar levels. Most seniors with diabetes have type 2. Your loved one will be diagnosed with diabetes if his or her fasting blood sugar levels are over 126 mg/dl on two separate occasions or if he or she has an A1C level of 6.5 percent or above. Once diagnosed, your loved one will need to form a plan with the doctor to get his or her blood sugar levels in a normal range. A typical diabetes treatment plan may include diet, medication, and exercise.

Considering professional in-home care is also an integral part of creating a diabetes treatment plan. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated home care company. Palm Beach Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.

Visit a Dietitian

Your loved one may still be able to eat the foods he or she loves. However, these foods will need to be eaten in the correct portions. A dietitian can work with your loved one to make a diet plan that is carefully balanced in carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and fat to prevent blood sugar levels from spiking too high or dropping too low. Once your loved one has a diet plan, go grocery shopping together and stock his or her shelves and fridge with healthy foods.

Take Medications

The doctor may prescribe one or more medications to help your loved one’s body use the sugar that is consumed properly. It’s important for your loved one to take these medications regularly. If your loved one was prescribed insulin, he or she will also need to learn how to do the injections. Placing the medications in a pill box for your loved one ensures he or she doesn’t take too much or too little of any of the medications.

Hiring a professional caregiver is another way to ensure your loved one takes his or her medications on time. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Palm Beach Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.

Exercise

Exercise is a great way to keep blood sugar levels in check. Get out and walk, swim, golf, or play tennis with your loved one to spend time with each other, burn off excess blood sugar, and develop toned muscles. 

Keep Regular Appointments with Specialists

High blood sugar levels affect the kidneys, heart, eyes, and teeth. Your loved one will need to meet regularly with his or her doctor, ophthalmologist, and dentist. Regular appointments can prevent or treat complications of diabetes in the early stages. You can help your loved one keep these appointments by arranging for travel or by accompanying him or her.

Caring for an elderly loved one with diabetes is often difficult for family caregivers. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Palm Beach, Florida, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. To learn about our premier in-home care plans, call one of our professional Care Managers at 561.429.8292 today.