Diabetes Prevention Tips for Older Adults

Diabetes in the ElderlyType 2 Diabetes is the preventable and treatable version of diabetes that is quite prevalent in the United States. Diabetes is the inability of the human body to process sugar properly and can cause serious diabetes complications in seniors. The senior caregivers of Poet’s Walk have ample experience in caring for seniors with diabetes and are pleased to help you and your loved one take the appropriate steps of prevention.

What to Know About Diabetes in Seniors

Diabetes can be a dangerous disease for seniors because it can make them more susceptible to infections, damage to parts of the body, and difficulties healing. There aren’t many obvious signs when someone is developing Type 2 Diabetes apart from perhaps being more thirsty and having to urinate more frequently.

When someone has Type 2 Diabetes, you may notice:

  • Flu-like fatigue, lethargy, and chronic weakness
  • Weight gain or loss because your body is overcompensating
  • Decreased circulation, leading to nerve damage and the extremities feeling numb or tingly
  • Blurring of vision, since sugar is being taken from your eyes’ lenses
  • Gum disease, manifesting as red and inflamed gums prone to teeth destroying infection
  • Slow healing and more infections like urinary tract infections

If uncontrolled, Type 2 Diabetes can result in serious complications for your elderly loved one:

  • Cardiovascular disease– the risks of heart attacks or strokes are higher, your level of good cholesterol (HDL) is lowered while your level of bad cholesterol (LDL) is increased.
  • Serious infections– your immune system is compromised, so your ability to fight off bacteria and viruses is lower and it may take much longer to heal infected tissue.
  • Nerve damage– it may be difficult to discern problems in the extremities due to lack of feeling, so serious injuries may develop, some even requiring amputation.
  • Vision loss – without treatment, diabetes can lead to blindness.
  • Kidney damage– diabetes can affect kidney function and lead to kidney disease so you are unable to naturally excrete waste in your urine.

Guidelines for Preventing Diabetes in the Elderly

There are a few factors with a significant effect on chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes:

  • Being overweight – insulin is needed to metabolize sugar, and excess fat increases the body’s resistance to insulin
  • Stress or depression – mental health issues can raise blood sugar levels and blood pressure and also have negative effects on insulin production.
  • Family medical history – you may have a predisposition to developing diabetes if you have other family members who suffer from diabetes

Someone who develops Type 2 Diabetes or already suffers from it should follow these guidelines.

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight- this can be through eating a diabetes diet for the elderly and engaging in regular physical activity.
  • Eliminate fat and sugar – the diet should include more vegetables and whole grains and fewer animal fats and sugars.
  • Stress management – self-care is necessary – enjoy relaxing activities and practice mindfulness and doing what you love.

Managing Diabetes in the Elderly with Poet’s Walk

The trained caregivers at Poet’s Walk often residents of our assisted living facilities with diabetes prevention and diabetes management. The senior living diet plans we provide at Poet’s Walk contain all the necessary nutrition for our seniors, and they can take advantage of numerous senior-friendly exercise and physical recreation options, such as Tai Chi or yoga, group walks through our beautiful grounds, or chair exercise classes.

Contact us today and find out how you can help your loved one prevent or maintain diabetes.