Five Essential Diabetes Management Tips for Seniors

Written by James Fleming

According to the most recent data, 30.3 million Americans had been diagnosed with diabetes. Of those 30.3 million people, 12 million were senior citizens over the age of 65. That’s 25.2 percent of the senior population.

If you’re a senior citizen with diabetes, it’s easy to feel as though the disease runs your life. That definitely doesn’t have to be the case, though.

Listed below are some important diabetes management tips that will help seniors enjoy a better quality of life.

  1. Monitor Your Blood Sugar

Diabetics of all ages need to make sure they’re monitoring their blood sugar regularly. However, this is especially important for senior citizens.

By managing your blood sugar, you can prevent a variety of serious illnesses and complications, including high blood pressure, neuropathy, and vision problems.

Make sure you’re monitoring your sugar at the same time each day to make it a habit. Keep track of your levels each day and bring the information to your next doctor appointment. Your doctor can use this information to help you figure out the right protocol for controlling your sugar and maintaining your health.

Seniors tend to have issues with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) rather than hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Low blood sugar can increase your chances of getting dizzy and falling, so it’s important to check your levels and make sure they are high enough throughout the day.

  1. Manage Your Medication

As you get older, it can be harder to stay on top of your diabetes medication. It’s essential that you do so, though. Otherwise, you could be setting yourself up for a variety of complications.

These days, there are lots of devices designed to help people manage their medication. Some pillboxes even come with alarms that remind you of when it’s time to take your medication.

Not very tech savvy? You can also use a simple paper chart or calendar and check off each day after you’ve taken your medicine.

  1. Don’t Blame Everything on Neuropathy

Neuropathy is much more common among senior diabetics than it is among younger diabetics. Because of this, it’s easy to blame it for any kind of pain or dysfunction you’re experiencing. It’s important to take note of other conditions you could be suffering from, though.

For example, many diabetics with hand pain think they’re suffering from neuropathy when they’re actually dealing with issues like carpal tunnel syndrome.

Advanced glycation end-products (proteins that become sticky when exposed to sugars) can collect on the tendons of the palms of long-term diabetics. This causes nerve compression and the pain, numbness, and/or tingling that’s associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated with laparoscopic surgery or by wearing a special brace.

  1. Eat a Healthy Diet

Diet can make a huge difference in the quality of life for diabetic senior citizens. But, many diabetic seniors aren’t eating the kinds of foods that promote healthy blood sugar levels.

Some foods that diabetic seniors should avoid include:

  • Alcohol
  • Sugar (especially from processed or packaged foods)
  • High-sugar fruits
  • Refined grains and cereals
  • Fruit juice and soda

Instead, seniors should fill their grocery carts with the following staples:

  • Legumes
  • Low-sugar fruits (apples, berries, etc.)
  • Dark green vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli, etc.)
  • Orange vegetables (bell peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.)
  • Healthy fats (avocados, olive oil, olives, nuts, etc.)
  • Whole grain carbohydrates
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • High-quality protein sources (beef, pork, chicken, fish, etc.)
  1. Stay Active

Regular exercise is another essential for diabetic seniors (and all seniors, for that matter) who want to stay healthy and happy.

Some seniors shy away from exercise because they’re afraid that they’re going to get hurt. In reality, though, exercise is one of the best things seniors can do to prevent injuries.

Great forms of exercise for seniors include:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Resistance training
  • Yoga

These types of exercise help seniors manage their weight, control blood sugar, and maintain their muscle mass.

Final Thoughts

Even if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you can still maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Keep these simple management tips in mind to stay on top of your condition and keep complications at bay.

Preparing Your House to Accommodate Seniors with Limited Mobility

Written by Becky Wilcox

Mobility challenges are quite common among the elderly. If you are the primary caregiver for a senior family member who is experiencing this difficulty, it is critical that you do your best to help them cope with these limitations. One way is to make your home “elderly-friendly” for a safer and more accessible environment for aging adults.

Making upgrades/additions to your home to make it safe and secure for older folks can be as simple as installing handrails near the staircase. This senior home preparation guide focuses on simple investments for creating a haven. That said, it also recommends more substantial installations that can be worthwhile if your loved one ends up having long-term mobility issues.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Create a Comfortable Sitting Environment 

Sitting in a comfortable position can prove to be a challenge for mobility impaired seniors. The standard chairs present in most homes can take a toll on their back. On top of that, older folks may struggle to get back into a standing position without assistance. Fortunately, modern lift recliners and other similar options are allowing caregivers and homeowners to set up comfortable seating areas in their accommodations. Furniture pieces like these include all the latest features (dual motors, massage, heating, etc.) that allow for versatility in how users maneuver them. For example, they can achieve a fully reclined position as well as be positioned straight. Moreover, some of them are capable of helping seniors stand on their feet by giving them the boost they need to get comfortably up on their feet.

  1. Add Safety Features to Your Bathroom

Your bathroom is especially important to secure since water increases the risk of slip and fall injuries. Roll-in pathways, curtain equipped shower stalls, and seating are some viable options for the seniors in your home don’t use a wheelchair. Investments like these remove the need to step over a tub or ledge, significantly reducing the risk of falling. Another washroom safety measure is to replace one of your existing bathtubs with a walk-in model. That’ll give your mobility impaired loved one the safety and confidence they need to bathe on their own. Additionally, you can put pads and non-slip pads at the bottom to offer better traction inside. As for the bath sink, countertop versions are the most secure option for access and support. The can be adjusted in the same manner as the kitchen. For homeowners with a free-standing sink, it’s a good idea to install an “L” bracket in the wall stud to remove the risks associated with leaning on it.

  1. Reorganize the Kitchen

Incorporate at least one accessible workplace in the kitchen that seniors can access, be it a fold-down table or a small dining set. Just make sure it can bear a considerable amount of weight. The workspace should also be able to accommodate frequently used items. Ensure these are accessible throughout the kitchen, as reaching for things in high cabinets could lead to injuries. Also, controls should be present in front of the stove to prevent seniors needing to reach across burners. Additionally, appliances and cookware with sensory alerts – like kitchen appliances with both lights and sounds and whistling ovens – are must-haves for homes with older adults.

Make sure the elders with mobility issues always feel safe and welcome by taking note of the arrangements they need. Start by making these upgrades to make seniors appreciate your home as well as life in general.

Top Seven Superfoods for Seniors

Written by James Flerming

Some seniors mistakenly believe that they don’t need to worry about their diet once they reach retirement age. In reality, though, the foods you consume on a regular basis contribute significantly to the quality of your life and the rate at which you age.

If you want to continue to look and feel your best (or if you want to look and feel better), start adding these seven superfoods to your diet.

  1. Blueberries

Blueberries are a great source of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps feed the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. It can also lower your cholesterol levels and slow down your cells’ uptake of glucose. This, in turn, makes it easier to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Blueberries are also loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and many other beneficial antioxidants, including anthocyanins. Anthocyanins give blueberries their bright color, and they’re known to promote brain health and boost memory.

  1. Dark Chocolate

Who says eating healthy can’t also be delicious? Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, including flavonoids, which can protect the arteries and prevent heart attacks. Regular dark chocolate consumption can also reduce blood pressure and decrease the risk of stroke in women by up to 20 percent!

As if those benefits aren’t enough, dark chocolate has also been shown to protect the brain and act as a memory booster. To see the greatest benefits from dark chocolate, make sure it’s at least 70 percent cacao and low in sugar.

  1. Turmeric

Turmeric, the bright yellow spice that gives Indian and Middle Eastern food its rich coloring, contains an anti-inflammatory compound known as curcumin. Curcumin is a common ingredient in supplements for arthritic adults, and for good reason. It has actually been shown to help reduce inflammation just as well as (if not better than) over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.

Add turmeric to your favorite foods or steep it in hot water to make tea. Just be sure to add some black pepper, too. One of the ingredients in black pepper, piperine, increases curcumin’s bioavailability by up to 2,000 percent!

  1. Asparagus

Asparagus is rich in the phytochemical lycopene. Lycopene is especially beneficial for senior men, as it can protect the prostate and lower one’s risk of developing prostate cancer.

That’s not to say that women shouldn’t also enjoy asparagus, though. It’s also rich in vitamin A, which is beneficial for proper immune health and eye health. It also contains plenty of fiber to promote healthy gut bacteria, lower cholesterol, and boost heart health.

  1. Broccoli

Broccoli is a great source of calcium, so it’s a great vegetable for seniors to consume if they want to ward off osteoporosis and osteopenia. It’s also rich in fiber and other essential vitamins, including vitamins A, K, C, and B9 (folate).

With all these great nutrients, broccoli is a powerhouse that can protect the blood cells, eyes, and immune system. Some research also indicates that regular broccoli consumption can help fight off certain types of cancer, including breast, prostate, liver, and colon cancer.

  1. Coffee

If you’ve been drinking a cup or two of coffee a day for longer than you can remember, don’t worry. No one’s going to tell you to put down your mug anytime soon.

Consumption of coffee — regular and decaf — has been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, and a variety of infections. It may also help protect women from breast cancer.

The only caveat? Don’t drink it too hot — high temperatures have been linked to an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer.

  1. Olive Oil

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat. Forget what you’ve been told about fat clogging your arteries and increasing your risk of heart disease. In the case of monounsaturated fats (and many other types of fat), that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Monounsaturated fats actually lower cholesterol and heart disease risk. They also help regulate insulin levels and control blood sugar to prevent diabetes.In addition to monounsaturated fats, olive oil is also full of vitamin K, vitamin E, and a compound known as oleocanthal. Oleocanthal is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can relieve pain just as well as ibuprofen.