Nov 9, 2017 by Kristina Butler
Diabetes is a leading cause of disability and death in American seniors. It is linked to blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, amputations, and death. This is particularly scary when you realize that one in 11 Americans has diabetes, but that number drops to one in four for seniors over the age of 65. In addition to the tens of millions of seniors who already have diabetes, it is estimated that another 84 million are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
November has been designated American Diabetes Month. During November, seniors are encouraged to reflect upon their lifestyle choices and the impact they have upon diabetes control or risk. The American Diabetes Association believes that positive lifestyle choices can dramatically lower the number of seniors impacted by diabetes, especially those involving exercise and nutrition.
This holiday season, in honor of American Diabetes Month, Comfort Keepers at home caregivers are proud to provide the following suggestions:
Find a way to exercise. The holidays are filled with trips, travels, social gatherings, and other reasons to avoid exercise. Never-the-less, exercise is a primary way the body stabilizes blood sugar, obtains and maintains a healthy weight, and burns excess calories. While the exercise routine may be disrupted, think creatively. Consider a brisk walk around the neighborhood after dinner, walk the mall a few times prior to entering the stores and shopping, take the stairs instead of the using the elevator, and so forth. It is not so important what exercise is done; just so it is.
Eat smart. Eating smart includes the what, how, and when of food. In short, it means eating many small meals instead of skipping meals and then gorging at a large feast. By eating smaller meals, the body can maintain a stable blood sugar, plus one is less likely to overindulge if they are not as hungry. Choosing high-fiber foods, such as those made with whole grains, also help the body stabilize blood sugar while helping one feel fuller and thus eating less. Additionally, Comfort Keepers at home caregivers can help seniors plan, shop for, and prepare many nutritious meals and diabetic-friendly alternatives to traditional dishes.
Avoid Alcohol. While most holiday events include alcohol, seniors with diabetes should limit their consumption. A few drinks may not cause too much damage, but alcohol lowers blood sugar and can negatively impact diabetes medication. It is also important to remember to pair alcohol with food if drinking is to be part of the holiday festivities.
The holidays are often challenging times for seniors with diabetes or those looking to reduce their risk. Thankfully, with some planning, the holidays can be safe and enjoyable while keeping the blood sugar in check. For more information about diabetes, American Diabetes Month, or the many ways Comfort Keepers at home caregivers can help your senior loved one maximize their safety, independence, and quality of life, contact a senior home care coordinator today.
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