Nearly 30% of older adults have diabetes. If your loved one is neglecting life-saving diabetes management techniques, it’s time to have a conversation with them.
Lifestyle adjustments can be difficult for older adults, and your parent or loved one may need your support to adapt. Learn how to help diabetic seniors with some practical home health care tips.
Understanding Diabetes in Seniors
Age is one of the main risk factors for type 2 diabetes, the most common form of this chronic health condition. As the body ages, the pancreas may not work as efficiently. If it can’t keep up with the body’s demand for insulin production, the eventual result is too much sugar in the blood. Diabetes can lead to many serious health problems if not properly managed.
Older adults diagnosed with this condition face unique challenges that make diabetes an even greater concern, such as:
- Co-existing health conditions
- Medication interactions
- Mobility and cognitive decline
If your loved one has diabetes, an individualized home care plan can make all the difference. But they may need help to ensure its success.
Meal Planning and Nutritional Guidance
Insulin is not a cure-all. Healthy eating is essential to control blood sugar, and fresh, healthy dinners are more demanding than processed foods. So, here are a few practical tips that can help you create diabetes-friendly meal plans:
- Clear out their fridge and pantry, including processed foods, snacks and desserts.
- Include more fresh veggies and proteins.
- Control portion sizes.
- Follow regular meal and snack times.
- Look for easy and healthy recipe ideas.
- Enlist the help of a registered dietitian to develop personalized nutritional strategies.
Medication Management and Monitoring
Whether it’s insulin injections or pills to manage blood sugar levels, medication management relies on routine and careful monitoring.
Memory problems, vision issues and decreased mobility may make it difficult for your older family member to keep up with their medication schedule. There are many ways you can assist them with medication management, including:
- A medication log that tracks glucose levels and insulin dosage
- Alarms to keep a routine
- Clearly labeled pill boxes
Exercise and Physical Activity
Exercise is a key strategy to keep blood sugar down. Staying active can be harder for older adults with mobility issues. With a bit of creativity, you can encourage your senior loved one to engage in simple aerobic workouts, like:
- Strolling the neighborhood
- Playing games like basketball, tennis or pickleball
- Joining water fitness programs
- Doing chair-based workouts
- Gardening or light housekeeping
Diabetes’ Impact on Psychological and Emotional Well-Being
Whether it’s a new diagnosis or a long-standing battle, diabetes impacts your loved one’s emotions and mental well-being. They may seem listless, frustrated, anxious or even angry. You can nurture their mental health by:
- Speaking with their health care provider about your observations.
- Being there with kindness and empathy.
- Engaging with them in their favorite hobbies.
- Enlisting the emotional support of a trained counselor.
Trusted Resources for Diabetes Support
From education programs to online resources, there are reputable sources for information, services and support. The American Diabetes Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer many free resources to help you get the care your senior loved one deserves.
Find Home Care Help for Seniors With Diabetes
If you’re caring for an older adult with diabetes, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. While the strategies we’ve mentioned are practical ways to manage this disease, it’s OK if you need extra help.
Active Senior Care connects you with highly qualified and compassionate caregivers who can assist with the daily tasks of managing diabetic treatments and caring for your older adult family member. Reach out today to learn more.