Diabetes can raise the risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. When your senior loved one develops diabetes, ensure the disease is well managed and monitored. Here are six things to do when your loved one develops diabetes.
1. Monitor Medications
After developing diabetes, your loved one may be taking an oral antiglycemic agent or insulin injections. It’s important to make sure your parent takes the required diabetes medication in the correct dosage. Also, make sure the medications appropriately correlate to mealtimes so your loved one is less likely to experience dangerous spikes in blood glucose levels.
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2. Prepare Therapeutic Foods
If you’re caring for an elderly loved one who has diabetes, prepare and serve therapeutic foods tailored to diabetics. Complying with a diabetic diet may reduce the risk for diabetes-related health complications and the need for diabetes medication.
3. Encourage Exercise
Exercise is an important intervention in the management of diabetes, and it can alleviate stress and lower blood sugar levels. While maintaining a consistent exercise routine is important, you should consult with your loved one’s physician prior to starting a new exercise regimen.
4. Take Your Loved One to Medical Appointments
Unless your loved one’s diabetes is managed by his or her doctor, the disease may progress. The doctor can order routine lab tests to determine if your parent’s blood glucose levels are too high or too low and suggest a treatment plan that could prevent complications.
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5. Manage Weight
Excess weight can raise blood sugar levels and make it difficult for seniors to exercise. To help your loved one maintain a healthy weight, ensure his or her meals are nutrient-dense and low in sugar. Losing only a few pounds may make a positive impact on glucose levels. Sometimes, diet and exercise are the only interventions necessary to manage diabetes. If your parent maintains a healthy weight and eats right, he or she may not need to take antiglycemic medications.
6. Monitor Blood Glucose Levels
If your loved one is unable to do so independently, you’ll need to monitor his or her blood glucose levels before and after meals. To achieve accurate glucose readings, you’ll also need to make sure the glucose meter is properly calibrated. If the readings aren’t accurate and your parent takes antiglycemic medications based upon the erroneous readings, he or she may develop hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.
Older adults living with serious health issues can benefit from professional in-home care. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Green Valley Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks. To learn about our high-quality in-home care options, give us a call at 520-625-2050 today.