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It’s National American Diabetes Association Alert Day: 4 Things You Can Do to Help Your Senior Loved One Manage Diabetes

By Debbie Waddell, 9:00 am on March 22, 2016

In 2014, over 11 million American adults over age 65 had diabetes. When not properly managed, this condition can lead to heart disease, strokes, and other serious complications. However, if your elderly loved one has diabetes, there are many ways you can help him or her stay healthy. The senior care experts at Roseville Home Care Assistance have a few suggestions for you.

1. Exercise Together

Exercise can help your loved one manage diabetes in two ways: by burning off excess blood sugar and by building muscle. If your loved one eats a meal high in carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks the carbs down into sugar, which stays in the bloodstream until used by the body. These high sugar levels can harm the heart, kidneys, and eyes. Exercising causes the body to use this extra sugar quickly. Strength training and building muscles can also help your loved one’s body absorb more sugar, which prevents his or her blood sugar level from getting too high. Take an exercise class, go on a walk, or swim with your loved one to spend time together and help control his or her glucose levels.

2. Encourage Regular Doctor Visits

Seniors with diabetes should visit their doctors at least every 3 months to have their hemoglobin A1c checked. This simple blood test shows how your loved one’s blood sugar levels have been over the past 3 months. Additionally, your loved one will need regular eye exams, tests to check for nerve problems in his or her feet, and an annual exam to check for kidney problems. Encourage your loved one to keep all of his or her regular doctor exams. Offering to drive your loved one to these appointments or hiring a Roseville hourly caregiver for this purpose can provide the extra support he or she needs.

3. Prepare Healthy Snacks

When hunger strikes, it’s easy to grab whatever is readily available to eat. Unfortunately, these simple snacks are often full of unhealthy carbohydrates that can quickly raise blood sugar levels. Offer to take your loved one grocery shopping and encourage him or her to stay away from junk food. At home, help your loved one prepare healthy snacks for the coming week so he or she is prepared ahead of time for sudden hunger. Washing and slicing fruits and vegetables, preparing hardboiled eggs, and bagging up the correct portion sizes of nuts can help your loved one eat healthier.

4. Keep Track of His or Her Medications

In addition to a healthy diet and exercise, your loved one’s doctor may prescribe drugs or insulin. These medications will help your loved one manage his or her blood sugar levels. Make sure your loved one regularly gets this medication by picking it up at the pharmacy or arranging for a mail-order service to deliver it to his or her home.

Diabetes management can also be made simpler with the help of an in-home caregiver. If your loved one could use some assistance with medication reminders, healthy meal preparation, exercise, and transportation to medical appointments, reach out to Home Care Assistance. In addition to help with these and other important tasks, we also offer comprehensive Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and post-stroke care Roseville families trust. For more information and to schedule a complimentary consultation, call one of our qualified Care Managers at 916.226.3737 today.

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