Diabetes is a serious health problem that affects more than 14 million seniors. Seniors that are overweight or have other medical problems have a higher risk of developing diabetes as they get older. And seniors who live a sedentary lifestyle also have a higher risk of developing diabetes. Seniors with diabetes have to work hard to manage their diabetes because diabetes increases the chances that a senior will have a heart attack, stroke, or lose a limb to amputation. The good news is that just a few easy lifestyle changes can significantly lower a senior’s risk of developing diabetes. If you want to help your senior love one avoid diabetes encourage them to:
Move Move Move
The number one thing that seniors should be doing to lower their risk of diabetes is also one of the easiest things to do. Seniors need to move for at least 20 minutes every day. That could mean going for a walk around the block, doing an exercise video in their living room, taking their grandkids outside to play, or going for a swim after dinner. It doesn’t matter what the exercise is all that matters is that they move every day.
Eat Healthier Meals
Diet has a huge impact on blood sugar and can play a major role in whether or not your senior parent develops diabetes. That doesn’t mean that they can’t ever enjoy the foods they love but seniors should focus on eating healthy meals that contain vegetables and whole grains along with some lean protein. Skip the sugary desserts and eat some fruit instead. A home care provider can encourage seniors to eat better by helping them prepare healthy meals and shop for healthy ingredients. Seniors who eat with a home care provider also tend to eat better sized portions than they eat when they’re alone.
Stress can wreak havoc on the human body. Seniors who are stressed out because of health issues, losing friends or family members, or because they are worried about the future are making themselves more susceptible to diabetes. To manager stress seniors should try meditation, Tai Chi, or even just sitting down on the porch with herbal tea to take a break. Having pets can be a wonderful way to lower stress. If your senior loved one has thought about getting a pet encourage them to think about it again. Maybe even take them to the pet shelter to meet some cats and dogs.
Because being overweight is a big risk factor for developing diabetes doctors really stress that seniors who are overweight should actively try to lose weight. Cutting back on calories and getting more exercise is the tried and true way to lose weight. If your senior parent needs to shed some pounds in order to fall out of pre-diabetes or reduce the risk of diabetes you can help them plan and shop for some healthy meals to replace the unhealthy foods they have been eating.