According to the Endocrine Society, about one-third of Americans over the age of 65 have been diagnosed with diabetes. Outside of having diabetes, these senior citizens are also at risk of developing a wide range of complications related to this chronic disease. This includes everything from hypoglycemia to kidney failure to heart disease.
At some point, you might need to convince an elderly family member who has diabetes to consider moving into a senior living community. While living in a senior living facility, they’ll be able to get the diabetes management services they need. But until then, you should help your loved one with managing diabetes. By providing them with the proper diabetic care, you’ll be able to ensure they stay healthy and don’t allow diabetes to put them into a tough spot as far as their health is concerned.
Here is a guide on how to care for a diabetic senior.
Learn as Much as You Can About Diabetes
Recent studies have shown that more than 10% of the American population has diabetes. As a result, a lot of people are already familiar with what diabetes is and how it can affect a person. If you feel like you know everything there is to know about diabetes, you can skip this step. But if you aren’t all that educated on diabetes, you should take the time to discover as much as you can about it. There are so many organizations like the American Diabetes Association that can provide you with information on diabetes and all that it entails. Digesting this info will help you provide your loved one with the senior care they need as they battle with diabetes on a daily basis.
Make Sure Your Loved One Attends Doctor’s Appointments
It’s important for all seniors to get into the habit of seeing doctors regularly. But it’ll be especially important for those with diabetes to make it a point to see their doctors early and often. With this in mind, you should see to it that your loved one is making routine appointments with their doctor and, more importantly, going to them. They’ll typically need to see their primary care physician as well as an endocrinologist and maybe even other specialists like an ophthalmologist and a podiatrist. As you might imagine, it can be tricky trying to keep track of all these doctor’s appointments. You should be there to help them make sense of when they need to go where.
Go to Doctor’s Appointments With Them
If your loved one is still in their mid to late 60s, they might be able to get away with going to doctor’s appointments on their own. But as they grow older, it’s going to become more difficult for them to get to these appointments and listen to everything their doctors have to say. It would probably help them a lot to have you by their side as they go to doctor’s appointments. You can listen to their doctors and make sure you ask the right questions about how they should be managing diabetes.
Help Them Obtain and Use Their Medications
There are many different medications your loved one might have to take to keep their diabetes under control. They’ll need to check their blood sugar levels constantly and use their medications to prevent their blood sugar levels from spiking in either direction at any point. You should, first and foremost, help your loved one to pick up their medications at the pharmacy and bring them home. You should also help them to use their medications and see to it that they’re using them in the right way. This might be the most important part of the diabetes management process. If your loved one forgets to take their medications as necessary even just a couple of times, it could potentially lead to serious health complications.
Encourage Them to Eat the Right Foods
While your loved one’s diabetes medications will help them control their blood sugar levels, their diet will also play a key part in this. It’s why you will need to find some creative ways to convince a diabetic senior to eat the right foods for the most part. You should caution them to stay away from any foods that contain too much sugar or too many carbohydrates. Instead, they should be eating a lot of vegetables along with anything that contains high levels of protein. They should also be eating the right size portions and get on a set schedule for when they eat. They’ll need some extra encouragement to take each of these steps, so it would be hugely helpful for them to have you helping them along the way.
Take Them for Walks to Get Exercise
In addition to making sure your loved one eats a well-balanced diet to alleviate blood sugar concerns, you should also try to get them to exercise more. Their doctor will most likely want to see them doing both aerobic exercises and workouts that will help them build muscle.
You might be able to take them for walks to help them get the exercise they need. You should also consider signing them up for fitness classes at a local gym and giving them rides to and from these classes.
Keep a Close Eye on the Condition of Their Feet
Those with diabetes need to be very careful when it comes to their feet. They’ll often experience nerve damage that will cause them to overlook things like calluses, blisters, and other foot-related injuries. These injuries can cause infections to set in and put a senior in a position where they may need to have toes or even feet amputated. You can help them avoid these scenarios by inspecting their feet and bringing them to a podiatrist as necessary for treatment.
Research Senior Living Communities for Them
When you first start helping a special senior in your life with managing diabetes, things might go smoothly. But as time goes on, providing this kind of elderly care can take a toll on you. It’s when you may want to consider calling on an affordable senior living community for help. A great senior living facility will be able to set your loved one up with the diabetic care they need. They can also provide a variety of other services. If they’re a memory care community, for instance, they can deliver the memory care services your loved one may need either now or sometime in the future.
Contact Us to Hear About Our Senior Living Facility
Are you starting to have a tough time providing a diabetic senior with enough senior care? Inspired Living would love to step in and assist you. Your loved one will thrive in our senior living community. They’ll be able to lead a normal life while getting the senior living care they need to keep their diabetes well under control.
Reach out to us today for all your loved one’s elderly care needs.