Tips to prevent diabetes-related complications in aging parents
It's estimated that one-third of adults over the age of 65 are living with diabetes. While diabetes can be managed relatively easy for younger adults, seniors managing diabetes present special challenges that can hinder keeping their condition under control. To help manage diabetes in senior parents and loved ones, take these steps to help lower the risk of complications and issues that can arise from an inconsistent and inadequate diabetic care routine.
Get regular checkups
Many medical complications and diabetes diagnoses go unnoticed in elderly patients because the symptoms closely mimic other symptoms associated with aging. Being thirsty, going to the bathroom more frequently and blurred vision are often seen as general signs of aging, so regular health checkups are vital to making sure that no seemingly normal symptom goes unnoticed and untreated.
Eat healthy - even if you're on a budget
A healthy diet is mandatory for anyone managing Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. While many seniors are on a restricted budget in their later years, healthy eating must still be a priority to make sure that diabetes is kept under control. By purchasing frozen food, it's still possible to get more nutrients than with processed foods, and the cost is less than buying fresh produce. Also, switching to generic store brands in lieu of name-brand food items can save a hefty amount of money on trips to the grocer. Also, look into senior meal programs at local community centers.
Don't reuse disposable supplies
The cost of managing diabetes can sometimes be staggering for seniors on a tight budget. Sometimes, in an attempt to save on medical supplies and medicine, seniors reuse disposable diabetic supplies, such as syringes. This can be an extremely dangerous practice that can cause medical complications and foster infections, which can be potentially lethal. Make sure to keep a constant inventory of diabetic supplies, many of which can be purchased in bulk online to help reduce the cost and need for trips to the doctor's office.
Stay as mobile as possible
Exercise and diet are the two most important factors in diabetes management, especially for keeping blood sugar in check. However, because a vast majority of seniors deal with arthritis and limited mobility, it's difficult for many to stay as active as they once were. Look for local community centers that may offer senior activity programs, or have a caretaker assist the person on a short walk around the neighborhood for increased mobility.
For more healthy aging tips and information, visit www.nycseniorcare.org.