Seniors represent almost 48% of the total number of people with diabetes, and that number is expected to increase as the population of adults 60 and over grows.
It is estimated that 3.52 million Canadians have diabetes and of these, one third are undiagnosed
As you know, diabetes is a condition that prevents someone’s body from properly processing sugars, leading to elevated blood sugar levels and negative health effects as a result. While diabetes has its own signs and symptoms, it can also make other conditions worse – conditions like heart and kidney disease.
Diabetes can be effectively managed by seniors, but it’s often important for older adults to seek help from their care team, including their family, physician, nutritionist and caregiver. Here are some strategies for people dealing with diabetes:
- Education – There is a lot for someone to learn when they receive a diabetes diagnosis. Depending on the physician’s recommendation, changes may need to be made to a senior’s diet, exercise, medication and treatment plan. There are also new symptoms, risk factors and medical needs that a person may have. It’s important for older adults to learn everything they can about their diabetes and how to treat it.
- Diet – Diet plays a huge part in diabetes management. A nutritious diet that is low in sugar is important for reducing symptoms and complications from the disease. Sugar from fruit should typically be avoided too, along with saturated fats. Diabetes educators can help seniors plan meals that will successfully help them maintain their health.
- Exercise and activity – Seeking advice from a health care professional is the best first step for seniors that want to create an activity or exercise plan. While the American Diabetes Association recommends 30 minutes of exercise per day, five days per week, that level of activity isn’t always possible for some. However, shorter periods of activity, done throughout the day, can be just as helpful when managing diabetes. Seniors should always speak to their physician before starting any exercise program.
- Prescribed medication is critical – Missing a dose of medication can have negative effects on diabetes sufferers. Seniors that have a hard time keeping track can set up a system of reminders, whether that’s a pill box, an alarm, a checklist, or a caregiver or helper that can prompt them to take medications. In addition to prescribed medications, vaccines can also be a useful tool in diabetes management – for example, complications that are caused by the flu can be more severe for those with diabetes.
- Check glucose and other levels – Most seniors with diabetes will need to keep an eye on their glucose levels. A physician will typically let someone know how often they should be checking, and what to watch out for. Blood pressure and cholesterol levels can also indicate a problem – those should also be checked on a regular basis by a healthcare professional.
Comfort Keepers® Can Help
Diabetes can be difficult to manage, and the trusted care team at Comfort Keepers can help. Our caregivers can remind clients to take medication, provide transportation to scheduled appointments, and support physician-prescribed exercise regimens and diets. Above all, our goal is to see that clients have the means to find the joy and happiness in each day, regardless of age or acuity.
To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.
Diabetes Canada. “Diabetes Statistics in Canada”. Web 2019.
Endocrine Web. “9 Ways Older People Can Manage Their Diabetes to Stay Healthier.” Web. 2015.
National Council for Aging Care. “Seniors and Diabetes: A Complete Guide.” Web.
Diabetes Forecast. “5 Ways to Help Seniors With Diabetes.” Web. 2014.
American Diabetes Association. “Older Adults.” Web.