As an aging adult, living with diabetes may present increased risks and challenges. However, taking control of your health can be easier with the assistance of a caregiver and the right resources at your fingertips. While it’s always important to speak with a physician for healthcare advice, St. Barnabas Health System offers a few ways to manage your diabetes.
Eat Nutritious Meals
Nutritious meals can do more than help you manage your condition — they provide numerous other health benefits as well. Because diabetes affects the body’s ability to regulate and use glucose as fuel, healthy eating is the foundation of most diabetes care plans. It’s important to know how certain foods will affect your blood sugar and find ways to balance meal and medication schedules.
Planning meals ahead of time yourself or with a caregiver can make it easier to ensure you’re maintaining a well-balanced diet. Meals should include high-fiber, low-fat foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and a limited amount of animal products, sweets, and refined carbohydrates to help keep blood sugar levels in check.
Monitor Your Blood Sugar
Keeping tabs on your blood sugar is integral to your diabetes management plan. You and your provider can work together to make sure you know how to check your blood sugar, record it, and ensure this process is done as frequently as recommended. Regular monitoring is one of the most effective ways to ensure your blood sugar remains within the target range set by your provider.
Make Time to Exercise
Staying active is another key aspect for individuals with diabetes. When you exercise, your muscles use glucose for energy. Maintaining a regular exercise routine can help your body use insulin more efficiently and improve your health in numerous other ways.
Start by discussing an exercise plan with your provider. They can make suggestions based on your individual health needs and abilities. While exercise may not always be easy for aging adults, low-impact options can make incorporating this part of your diabetes management plan easier. These may include:
- Aquatic exercise
- Daily walks
- Indoor cycling or elliptical workouts
Many exercises can be performed with a group, providing both the opportunity to strengthen your body and your connections with friends and neighbors in your community.
Take Medications as Prescribed
When diet and exercise aren’t enough to manage your diabetes, insulin and other diabetes medications can help. However, it’s important to take these medications as recommended. Taking them at the right time and in the right dosage is key to their effectiveness. It’s also important to keep in mind that any other medications and supplements you’re taking may affect your blood sugar.
Finding simple ways to manage your medications and staying informed about each one can minimize the chances of adverse reactions and help you get the most out of the treatment plans as recommended by your providers.
Get the Help You Need from St. Barnabas
Diabetes is associated with several complications, such as eye and hearing impairment, skin conditions, nerve damage, and more. It can be especially challenging to manage as you age. If you or a loved one has diabetes and needs help with everyday management, look to St. Barnabas Health System. As part of our services, aging adults can receive a personalized care plan that includes skilled nursing care and personal daily care within the comfort of their home. Our caring, trustworthy providers can address the diverse needs of individuals living with a variety of chronic conditions, including diabetes.
Our medical center is also available to our residents and the general public throughout the greater Pittsburgh area, including Allegheny, Beaver, and Butler counties. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you manage your condition today and as your needs change in the future.