In honor of November being American Diabetes Month, we wanted to help spread awareness about this condition, in addition to providing tips and resources for seniors living in our retirement communities.
Diabetes has a disproportionate effect on adults. And this condition can be both debilitating and challenging to manage the older we get. Therefore, it’s essential to understand how to adopt healthy behaviors that help you manage blood sugar and reduce the risk of developing other serious health issues associated with this disease.
Before we get into a few of these healthy lifestyle habits, let’s first review some facts about diabetes.
DID YOU KNOW that 26.8% of Americans over the age of 65 are living with diabetes? And this number includes seniors who may be undiagnosed with this condition.
Diabetes can also increase your risk of developing serious health issues, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, skin issues, and eye disease. In fact, another equally important event that takes place this month is Diabetic Eye Disease Month.
About Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month
People living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes may experience certain eye diseases that include
Over time, these eye issues can lead to blindness. Diabetic Eye Disease Month is a way to help share education with others in your community about how diabetic eye disease develops, and how you can protect your vision with regular checkups to the optometrist.
To learn more about Diabetic Eye Disease Month, you can visit the National Eye Institute for information. On their site, you’ll find info about preventing eye disease, including articles, fact sheets, infographics, videos, and webinars.
Lifestyle Tips for Living with Diabetes
In addition to the helpful resources listed above, here are a few tips on how to incorporate healthy eating and lifestyle habits into your routine to help manage your diabetes.
Look for Nutrients in Foods
As we age, it becomes harder for our bodies to maintain a healthy balance of essential nutrients. This can lead to moments of low blood sugar, whether or not you’re living with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) lists the key ingredients to healthy eating as follows:
- Fruits & Veggies
- Lean Meats
- Plant-Based sources for protein (e.g., nuts, quinoa, chickpeas, etc.)
Check out their list of the 9 superfoods for diabetics. These include whole grains, tomatoes, leafy veggies, berries, and fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids (e.g., salmon). Not only are these options beneficial for managing diabetes, but they are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to thrive!
Avoid Added Sugars
Also noted on the ADA’s key ingredients list are foods you’ll want to avoid with diabetes! Actually, everyone should be avoiding added sugars in food, as they provide zero nutritional value and can lead to other health issues, including obesity.
Added sugars are common in most processed foods, but they’re also found in honey and fruit concentrates. Be sure to check nutritional labels for added sugars and try to opt for grocery items of the reduced sugar varieties.
You also may want to monitor your daily carb intake: “Carbohydrates are an important part of all meals. However, people with diabetes benefit from limiting their carbohydrate intake in a balanced diet or pairing carbs with a healthy protein or fat source,” (Medical News Today).
As with anything related to your health, you’ll want to consult with your clinician first before changing your diet to ensure you’re on the right path to wellness!
Keep Your Heart & Body Moving!
Physical exercise is beneficial to everyone, regardless of age. But for seniors living with diabetes, it’s even more important! One thing to remember when making your exercise plan is that consistency is the key to success.
A low-impact exercise, like walking, several days a week is more beneficial to your body than a strenuous workout once or twice a week that could lead to injury.
Exercise helps control weight, lower blood pressure, lower harmful LDL cholesterol and triglycerides,..[and] raise healthy HDL cholesterol…There are added benefits for people with diabetes: exercise lowers blood glucose levels and boosts your body’s sensitivity to insulin, countering insulin resistance.Harvard Health Publishing
Just as with changing your diet, you’ll also want to consult with your clinician before beginning a new exercise routine.
At Primrose, you can rest assured knowing that there are plenty of ways to get your heart and body moving each day. In fact, every week, we offer exercise classes to help our residents stay active and have fun along the way! We also offer fitness centers in each community to help you stay on track with your exercise goals and routine.
Keep Your Healthcare Team Informed
If you notice changes in your body, like sores that are not healing or an intense feeling of thirst or fatigue, be sure to communicate this to your clinician.
Nobody likes to go to the doctor. But when you have diabetes, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open. Developing the right treatment plan and maintaining your system of support will go a long way. It helps move you towards making your diabetes manageable and your quality of life even better!
Remember, when you manage your diabetes, you’re reducing your risk of developing serious health issues, like diabetic eye disease. That’s what American Diabetes Month is all about. Educating and sharing information with loved ones and those in your community, so we can all take a more proactive role in our health and wellness journey!
Living with Diabetes at Primrose
If you, or a loved one, are living with diabetes, you may have questions about how your nutritional and wellness needs will be accommodated when you move into our new retirement community!
Contact us today to learn more about our retirement communities or to schedule a tour!