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.

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.

There is No Going Back

Fond memories of days gone by are a joy to replay in our mind’s eye. Whether reliving a particularly happy time in our life or recalling a rare perfect confluence of all things good, our past can be a riverbed of precious nuggets waiting to be mined. Occasionally memories might even outshine the life we currently live.Do you ever find yourself tempted to return to that special place packed with special memories to do it all again? It was so perfect – why not go back? You might stay at that same wonderful bed and breakfast, maybe even in the same room. Is that spectacular dining spot still around, perhaps with that identical table and oh-so-memorable view? Maybe you take again that same wandering path through hillside vineyards or find once more the hidden wine shop tucked inconspicuously into an obscure corner of the village. Though memories may be clear, the way back is not always.

About nine years ago my wife and I visited an off-the-beaten-path restaurant in Intragna, Switzerland. Our table was one of about fifteen spread comfortable across one large room. The food was incredible. I swear I can still taste the truffle pasta. Through the window we gazed upon a little valley speckled with brightly painted houses the air resonating with bell-clanging cows while in the distance lurked the ever present snow capped mountains. As the meal unfolded we witnessed the slow progression of a spectacular sunset painting the world a royal red before closing down the day. Service was friendly and nine years later I still remember my first sip of grappa from those foot long bottles they acrobatically poured at meal’s end.

The memory remains crystal clear, like we were just there. Talk about the perfect moment.

Last year we revisited this spot excited to relive our nostalgic experience. I think we were realistic – we did not expect such a perfect moment but were hoping for something close.  It turns out our memories far out shined current day reality. The experience was not bad it just was not a good as before.  The food was not quite as tasty, the service mediocre, and the whole vibe was a bit off. That certain magic was missing despite some near misses.

Messing with perfect memories can be a risky proposition. What are the chances the second time around will be better or even as good? You can safely assume not everything will be the same. And there is always the chance they will be worse, inferior, not worthy of special memory categorization at all. Imperfections might actually pollute that perfect picture painted years ago. Is it worth the risk?

My dad grew up in Sioux City, South Dakota. Over the years he shared many colorful stories of his life adventures, some comical, some heart rending, all near and dear to him. A few years ago he took my mom on a trip to show her his old stomping grounds. You would expect signs of “progress” over the interim fifty-plus years (aka traffic, sprawl, dirt roads converted to highways, all the wonderful ingredients of growth). Not only were most of the familiar landmarks gone, they could not even find where the old farmstead had been. Little was as it had been when dad was growing up. Fortunately they were able to hook up with my dad’s roommate from medical school so the trip was still a success. That said it was not what they had hoped.

Revisiting and attempting to relive a perfect moment is a noble pursuit. What fun it can be to plan and make arrangements to do it all over again. We do all we can to get it right, down to the smallest detail, and hope for the best. If things do not work out exactly as we hope it will not be due to any lack of trying.

Some may choose to play it safe – leave that perfect memory alone and savor it in blissful review. Break out a nice Pinot Noir, bring out those pictures and take an invigorating virtual stroll down memory lane. Ah but those were good times.

But if you decide to play it safe what about those potential new memories that will never be realized? Although our second Intragna excursion was not on par with the first, while on the trip we discovered the beauty of Thun where we took a lovely boat ride around the lake and wandered the historical streets in search of amazing pastries. Other new experiences included walking the castle wall in Lucerne overlooking the city and nearby mountains, a quick ferry across the Rhine in Basel, and a truly amazing walk among the vineyards along Lake Neuchatel. Now we can add these new special memories to our existing database.

Good memories are a wonderful thing. While we are still able to why not make as many of them as possible. Cheers 🙂

LoveBeingRetired.com