Tips for good diabetes management
by Shannon Dauphin
Over 10 million people aged 60 or older have been diagnosed with diabetes. That's over 20 percent of all seniors. Given those numbers, it's a safe bet that you or someone you love may deal with diabetes during their lifetime.
Though there is no cure for diabetes, it can be managed with proper nutrition, exercise, and medications. For diabetic seniors, however, keeping blood sugar levels under control can be a difficult process. A few simple tips--and some understanding help from caregivers--can make diabetes management easier.
Diabetes Management Tips for Seniors
As your body ages, your pancreas might not work as well as it once did, or your body might be less sensitive to insulin. As your body changes, your diabetes treatment might need to change with it. These tips can help you stay on top of your diabetic needs:
- Check your blood sugar levels often. Keep your glucose meter with you at all times, and test your blood sugar levels on the schedule your doctor recommends.
- Follow the diabetic diet. Talk with your doctor about what kind of diet you should be on, how many calories you need, and what foods you should avoid.
- Take your medicine. Understand what your medications are, when you should take them, and how much you should take. Ask for clarification if you are uncertain.
- Talk to your doctor about exercise. Ask your doctor what exercises are okay to do, and how often you should be doing them.
- Wear your diabetes ID. You never know when a medical emergency can strike. A diabetes ID bracelet or necklace will alert emergency personnel to possible interactions with medications.
- Keep snacks handy. Low blood sugar can strike with little warning. Keep a stash of snacks within easy reach at all times.
- Tell your doctor about all your medications. Make certain your doctor knows about everything you are taking, including supplements and over-the-counter medications.
How Caregivers Can Help
Seniors might need encouragement and practical help to keep their diabetes under control. Caregivers can step in with kind reminders and a helping hand. Try these tips to keep your loved one healthy:
- Remind your loved one of healthy eating habits. Make sure they eat at regular intervals, and offer snacks between meals.
- Remind them to test their blood sugar. Help them keep a log of blood sugar levels to take to their next doctor's visit. Make certain they have enough test strips and supplies.
- Provide transportation for trips to the doctor. Drive your loved one to the doctor for regular checkups, and make sure you know when the next appointment is.
- Offer help with insurance and Medicare. Filing insurance claims can be confusing for anyone. Help your loved one file claims, deal with Medicare issues, and otherwise work through the financial intricacies of medical treatment.
Diabetes Management Made Easier
Dealing with diabetes can be tough at any age. But with careful monitoring of blood sugar levels, open discussion with your doctor, and enlisting the help of those who care about you, diabetes management can be much easier.