November is National Diabetes Month when we focus on raising awareness for this growing health epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 30 million Americans have diabetes, and as many as 25% of adults over the age of 60 years suffer from the condition.
If you are a senior citizen or you are responsible for the care of a senior citizen living with diabetes in New Jersey, it can be challenging to manage the condition properly. Thankfully, there are many ways that you can get help and support.
1. Make Dietary Changes
Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fiber and reducing processed foods can go a long way toward helping to prevent or manage diabetes.
We recommend older adults focus on complex carbs like oatmeal, quinoa, and other grains instead of simple carbohydrates like white flour and white rice.
Additionally, seniors should try to limit the amount of sugar they consume and avoid sugary beverages like soda or tea with sugar.
2. Exercise Regularly
For senior citizens living with diabetes, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial. Exercise is essential to keeping blood sugar levels in check. Exercise also has numerous other benefits, such as improving cardiovascular health, increasing muscle strength and flexibility, and reducing stress levels.
Regular physical activity can also help prevent obesity, a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes. For seniors living with diabetes, there are many ways to get the exercise they need.
Walking, swimming, and Tai Chi are all excellent options that can be tailored to individual fitness levels. With some planning and effort, senior citizens can make exercise a part of their daily routine and improve their overall health.
3. Monitor Blood Sugar Levels
Regularly monitoring blood sugar levels is an essential part of diabetes management. For senior citizens, tracking how their body reacts to the food they eat and the medications they take is especially important.
Blood glucose meters are an excellent way for seniors to easily monitor their blood sugar levels throughout the day. They are small, portable devices that can be used at home or on the go.
Monitoring blood sugar levels can also help seniors avoid severe complications associated with diabetes, such as blindness, kidney disease, and amputations. Seniors interested in using a blood glucose meter should talk to their provider about which type would be best for them.
4. Take Medications as Prescribed
Senior citizens are especially vulnerable to the dangers of diabetes. In addition to the increased risk of complications, seniors are more likely to take multiple medications, and the two can interact with each other in dangerous ways.
As a result, seniors must take their diabetes medications exactly as prescribed. Failure to do so could lead to serious health problems, such as an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage.
Seniors should be aware of any potential side effects of their medications. Common side effects include dizziness, headaches, and fatigue. If these occur, seniors should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
5. Learn More About Diabetes
Diabetes is a complex condition that can be difficult to manage. Senior citizens are at a higher risk of developing diabetes, so it’s important that they educate themselves on the risks and best practices for managing the condition.
There are many resources available that can help seniors better understand diabetes, such as websites, books, videos, and even support groups specifically designed to provide education about diabetes.
By learning more about the condition, seniors and their loved ones can ensure that senior diabetes management is handled properly.
6. Get a Medical ID Bracelet
Diabetes can be a life-threatening condition, especially for senior citizens. In the event of an emergency, medical personnel need to know that you have diabetes.
One way to do this is by wearing a medical ID bracelet. These bracelets have special symbols and color codes that let doctors and nurses know you have diabetes.
They are also a great way to alert medical personnel of any allergies or other medications you might be taking. Medical ID bracelets can be purchased online or at most drug stores.
7. Find Support
Managing diabetes can be overwhelming, especially for senior citizens and younger people who may not understand the implications of the condition. That’s why it’s essential to find both emotional and practical support.
Talking with a healthcare professional, family members, and friends, or even joining an online diabetes support group, can be beneficial in helping senior citizens manage their diabetes. These outlets can provide a safe space for senior citizens to ask questions and get advice from people who understand the condition.
Some senior centers, rehabs, or senior living communities offer support groups that focus exclusively on senior diabetes management. These support groups can be an excellent way for senior citizens to learn more about the condition, hear from people with similar experiences, and make new friends. Most of all, support groups help remind seniors with diabetes that they are not alone.
8. Regularly Inspect the Feet
Seniors with diabetes are especially vulnerable to foot complications, such as nerve damage, infections, and ulcers. That’s why senior citizens must inspect their feet regularly and report any changes or problems to their healthcare provider immediately.
To ensure senior citizens take care of their feet, their loved ones should help inspect them and clean them regularly.
Additionally, senior citizens should wear shoes that fit properly and avoid going barefoot to prevent injury or infection.
National Diabetes Month is an especially great time to focus on the health and well-being of seniors with diabetes, but we must not forget to support our friends and neighbors with diabetes all year long! Since senior citizens are at a higher risk of complications, they and their loved ones must take extra steps to ensure their diabetes is being treated appropriately.
By following the tips above, senior citizens can maintain good health and avoid any potential risks associated with diabetes. Remember to schedule regular checkups with a healthcare provider and always follow their advice for senior diabetes management.
At Clare Medical, our providers are on call to ensure patients receive proactive, high-touch, comprehensive in-home medical care. Our providers can visit your home or senior living facility and provide diabetes education visits and screenings, monitor your insulin levels, and check to make sure you’re taking medications as prescribed. We can also follow up with on ongoing oversight through remote patient monitoring. Clare Medical serves the entire state of New Jersey.
Right now, during National Diabetes Month, is as good a time as ever to learn more about how diabetes affects seniors and how to best care for older family members or patients suffering from this condition.
If you’re caring for someone with diabetes in the state of New Jersey, please reach out to Clare Medical of New Jersey today!
Call: (609) 474-0120 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org