AGING WITH DIABETES
is not a curse.it can be a positive time of growth,happiness and peace,However,it’s important to note that managing diabetes in the golden years may present challenges ranging from changes to metabolism and increased insuling resistance to medication managment.But thanks to better tools and technology advancements,people managing diabetes have to opportunity to live longer than ever before. Here is a list of 12 strategies to help you manage your diabetes with confidence as you age.
1.Control Your Glucose Levels.
If you can keep your glucose close to normal,you dramatically reduce the risk of diabetes related complications. How tight should control be? Some say lower is better but lower also means more tisk of hypoglycemia(low blood sugar) which can cause dizziness,falls and other accidents.Becouse of risks like these,the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends looser diabetes control for older people.Whereas younger adults are usually advised to keep the hemoglobin A1C(a measure of average glucose levels for the previous two to three month) under 7%,people over 65 may be advised to shoot for 7.5% Seniors in poor health may be told that 8% or even higher is the best target for them,despite the risk taht complications may increase with higher ATC numbers. Some experts belive that how you keep sugars down is more important than the actual numbers,Many times,doctors will pile on medications to lower sugars or treat the health problems of aging with dieabetes.Overporesribing creates a number of problems.Becouse older people have less kidney and liver function to process drugs,they have more risk of interactions and side effects. However,controlling your ATC with exercise and healthy,low-carb-fiber eating does not carry the risks of control by drugs.You may want to work with your health-care practitioner to find a plan that’s right for you and talk with your pharmacist and doctor about lowering doses or discontinuing some drugs.The same applies to herbal medications–if you’re older.start with lower doses.
2.Stay Physically Active
The more you move.the better your circulation will be.and the better your cells will soak up glucose.You will have more energy and more self-confidence.Walk or exercise after meals,drive less and use the stairs.
The ADA recommends the following ways to stay physically active.
- Strengthening exercise builds stronger muscles,which use more glucse.
- Balance exercises such as walking,runing or swimming help increase cardiovascular fitness,Check with your doctor before starting.
- Stretching,yoga or tai chi help increase flexibility.
3.Prepare For Aging
If you can,get onto a living situation that is accesible and affordable.Modify your home or look onto senior housing or assisted living before you need it.Consider moving in with family or having them move in with you.Arranging for suitable housing as you age will ensure your comfort and safety for years to come.
4.Do The Things That Make You Happy.
If you enjoy music,gardening,reading or knitting,make time in your schedule to do what brings you joy.Another rewarding option is giving your timr,whether to your family,friends or the charitable organization of your choice.The benefits of volunteerism are long lasting.
Keep family and friends in your life close.Schedule time with those you care about most.Conversation,friendship and companionship are key to staying emotionally fit.This also applies to pets.Some people gain a woderful sense of connection from pets.Dogs especially can solve a lot of diabetes issus–they promote exercise,love and joy and require a regular schedule. Dogs also help you meet new people when you take them for a walk.
6.Keep Up With Your Health Care.
As,we age,.it may become harder to get to medical appointment or to pay for them.Menaging preventable and treatable conditions is important. Here is a list of important appointments to schedule:
- Ophthalmologist (eye doctor) once a year the check for diabetic eye disease (retinopathy) and make sure you have the proper eyeglass prescription:
- endocrinologist (diabetes doctor or general practitioner ) twice a year or more; and
- podiatrist (food doctor) once a year,or more if prescribed.
7. Get More Sleep
It is important to shoot eight hours of sleep a night.To ensure a restful night’s sleep,try not to watch TV or do things that wind you up right before bedtime.Avoid stimulants–coffee,tea and other caffeinated beverages–in the evening,and take time to wind down before stretching out.If you find yourself waking in the night or early morning,discussthis with your doctor.If you have trouble staying asleep or wake up exhausted,be evaluated for sleep apnea-a common condition in diabetics .
8.Watch out For Depression
Accroding to the ADA,people with diabetes are at a higher risk of depression.If you are feeling sad,no lonver want to do things you used to like.wake early for no reason,experience changes in appetite,or feel tired,anxious or hopeless,get help.Poorly controlled diabetes can cause those symptoms,but they could also signs of depression.Self-management,counseling and/or medications along with sunshine,exercise and social contact are ways to combat depression.
Prayer and meditation improve health and qualify of life.People who belong to a congregation tend to live longer and be happier than people who are not religious ,in part becouse of the social support religions offer.
10.Stay Mentally Active
Puzzles or online brain training programs like Lumosity are great tools to keep the mind moving.Other fun activites include:
- learning a new language or finding a new hobby;
- Joining a discussion group or a book club;
- preparing new recipes;and
- taking a class at a local school or senior center or online.
11. Reach Out For Assistance.
Aging and illness both increase the need for help.Help could include diabetes equipment,like a glucose monitor or insuling pump,or mobility equipment like a cane,walker or grab bars,it could include financial assistance like disability or social security payments.Apply for the benefits you may be entitled to such as Medicare,Social Security or disability as soon as you can.They often take time to come through.
The Most important help often comes from other people.Your family,friends,neighbors or volunters may be happy to help shopping,housework,traveling to appointments and more,in many cases,a spouse is the person we lean on the most.Be aware: over-reliance can cause burnout.The goal is keep all in your household healthy.
12. BE Safe
It’s not always the complications of chronic illness that knock you down.It is the one-time injures we call “accidents” They’re not really accdinets:they’re situations we haven’t dealt with.To avoid health risks associated with diabetes,including falls,auto accidents and severe hypoglucemia (low blood sugars),it’s important to prevent them.Here are some tips.
- Get all the clutter off your floors.
- install good lighting and grab bars if you need them.
- Wear good-fitting shoes.
- Don’t drive when your sugar is borderline or when you don’t feel well or at night if you have visual problems.Get a ride,take the bus or walk.
- Avoid Hypos by checking sugars frequently,keeping glucose tabs handy and possibly reducing insulin or other meds that cause lows.