Diabetes is a serious illness regardless of age, but because it is a chronic illness the likelihood of developing diabetes-related complications increases with age. For seniors, therefore, lifestyle modifications are especially important for managing diabetes. Here are five tips from a leading North Houston elder care provider for managing diabetes over age 65 that family members can share with their senior loved ones.
1. Communicate with your doctor about your lifestyle plan.
The single most important aspect of diabetes management is communication with your doctor about your lifestyle plan. In conjunction with your doctor’s advice, you should create a plan for managing your illness. That plan may include a combination of lifestyle and medication strategies, and you should set a schedule for regular check-ins with your doctor. This plan should also include a collection of goals for your various “numbers,” such as cholesterol, blood glucose, and blood pressure.
2. Engage in moderate exercise regularly.
It can be difficult to maintain an exercise regime as you get older, particularly if you have other age-related illnesses like osteoporosis and arthritis. However, there are a number of activities that provide low-impact opportunities to exercise safely while socializing, like golf, tennis, and swimming. You can always engage in light walking, which remains one of the best exercises for the body, but look for a local gym or community center with an indoor track to help you minimize the risk of injury.
3. Track your blood glucose levels on a regular basis.
In conversation with your doctor, establish a protocol for monitoring your blood glucose levels on your own. In addition to monitoring your levels, consider keeping a journal where you record the results alongside your meals from that day. You can bring the journal with you to your doctor’s appointments to discuss your progress, and regular tracking can also help you identify times of day or types of food that trigger unsafe glucose levels.
4. Go to the dentist twice a year.
Dental problems can be harbingers of deeper health issues. Left unchecked, dental infections can also create serious complications for diabetes patients. It is important to maintain regular dental screenings twice a year to prevent and treat any problems with your teeth and gums.
5. Protect your feet.
Diabetes complications can frequently cause problems in foot health, often through nerve damage or infection. It is important to inspect your feet regularly for any noticeable skin lesions. As a preventive measure, it is also a good idea to consider wearing socks as often as possible. Keeping your feet covered prevents your skin from drying out, and it also minimizes your risk of injury from foreign objects.
Monitoring diet, exercise, and blood glucose levels are critical steps to manage diabetes in older patients. In addition to these regular lifestyle habits, be sure to monitor other indicators of overall health, such as problems with your teeth or feet. In any event, regular and open communication with your doctor will empower you to manage your diabetes and safeguard your general health.
Making lifestyle changes, like eating healthier or working out regularly, often becomes more challenging with age. If you could use help, don’t hesitate to reach out to North Houston Home Care Assistance. We offer live-in and flexible part-time home care in North Houston, ideal for seniors who need minimal help a few times each week. Our caregivers can grocery shop, prepare meals, run errands, offer mobility support, and ensure you have the assistance you need to maintain a safe and healthy life in the comfort of home. Call 832-412-1345 today to learn more.