Diabetes is a progressive disease that needs to be managed well and treated by medical professionals. Managing diabetes in our golden years can be especially difficult whether we have experience with the disease or not. Here are a few tips that will help older people with diabetes manage the disease better and hopefully stave off the complications that can be caused by the disease as it progresses.
1. Have a support system. Find people who will be there for you on the tough days, people who maybe have or have had experience with diabetes. Make sure that they are people that you trust enough to ask them questions or express concerns or just share your feelings with.
2. Make a habit of eating healthy. Many people are told to eat right and exercise when they are diagnosed with diabetes and many of them make the changes they are told to make, for a while. Managing diabetes requires a lifelong commitment to eating healthy. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be torture though. You can still enjoy food without overdoing it on the things that are unhealthy for you. Do some research, find suitable alternatives for your favorite carb loaded foods that are low carb or carb free. Find a fruit that is good for you that you would enjoy as an option for a sweet snack. Learn about the things that are bad for you but also learn about the things that are good for you.
This can be one of the more difficult parts of receiving a diagnosis of diabetes. Many of the foods that we have become accustomed to eating, that we think we can not survive without, become off limits. However, diabetes does not condemn us to a life of “rabbit food” and water. There are many healthy options out there for diabetics that will still fulfill cravings and leave you with a happy tummy, we just must be willing to find them.
3. Maintain a regular exercise routine. Perhaps this means going for a brisk walk or jog once or twice a day. Maybe it means going to a rehabilitation gym or a Zumba for seniors’ class. Whatever your activity may be, stick with it. If you do not have a favorite activity, try some new things out until you find something you enjoy. Just get up and get moving and stay with it. Daily exercise will help manage and deter many different ailments, so you really have nothing to lose except a little time and some extra weight.
4. Pay attention to your body and learn to understand it. Knowing when things don’t feel right is imperative for diabetics. Noticing the symptoms of a low blood sugar episode and getting that snack or juice in time is important so that there are no long-lasting consequences of not caring for yourself as you should. Low blood sugar can cause a person to collapse or pass out which can lead to long-term injury from falls or accidents.
5. Follow all directions given by the medical professionals involved in your case. Take all medications exactly as indicated. Do not skip doses or double up on doses. Make sure to keep all appointments with your physician and endocrinologist and tell them about any changes in health or habits that you may have. Share your concerns with them and ask them every question you may have, there is no such thing as a ridiculous question, and they are there to help you understand how to manage the needs of your body. Check your blood pressure regularly to make sure that you are in the safe zone and staying on track. Remember that no matter how much experience friends and family may have with diabetes, caring for yourself requires a customized treatment plan. What works for one person may not benefit and could potentially harm another person. Listen to your doctor, listen to your body, and use common sense. Do not buy into the “quick cures” for diabetes that people may share with you.
Diabetes management can seem daunting and scary, but if it becomes a routine then it can be simple enough. Here are some other resources to help people, especially seniors, learn about and understand diabetes: