Diabetes is a widespread problem in America with 1.4 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes each year and even more left undiagnosed. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), out of 29.1 million Americans with diabetes in 2012, only 21 million were diagnosed. Out of those who were ages 45 to 64, 13.4 million had diabetes and 11.2 million of those 65 and older were also affected by it, showing that as we age, the more the risk of diabetes increases. Fortunately, with education, and good diet and exercise habits, seniors can control and manage their diabetes.
According to Sue Sunderland, Executive Director at The Bridges at Warwick, a senior living community in Jamison, PA, those with type 2 diabetes can do quite a few things to help control their disease. “Seniors who live with diabetes know that it’s more than possible to live a great life even with the disease. It just takes more self-care,” she states. “By following a meal plan that is healthy and by exercising regularly, seniors are able to control their blood sugar and reduce their risks for further complications that can possibly occur, such as heart disease or stroke.”
As one of the most serious diseases, it is important to take action to put the control back in your own hands.
Controlling Diabetes with Diet
A common misconception about diabetes is that a special diet is needed in order to best control the disease. According to an article titled “Diabetes Myths" from the American Diabetes Association®, those with diabetes do not need to adhere to a specific and special diet, but simply need to follow the same healthy guidelines of any good meal plan. The article states that this includes eating foods low in saturated and trans fats and light in sugar and salt. LIVESTRONG™.com also offers tips for maintaining a healthy diet with diabetes.
- Stay away from sugary drinks. The American Diabetes Association recommends that those with diabetes should stay away from sugar-sweetened drinks – such as soda, fruit drinks or punch, energy and sports drinks, as well as sweet tea – as these will raise blood sugar drastically.
- Eat these superfoods. Eating food such as fish without breading, whole grains, nuts, leafy greens such as spinach and citrus fruit can provide many nutrients that your body needs without the harm of too many carbohydrates or sugars. Try substituting regular potatoes with sweet potatoes and opt for berries with non-fat yogurt for a dessert alternative that fills you up, gives you a hint of sweet and still gives plenty of nutrients.
- Keep carbs in check. According to LIVESTRONG, carbs affect blood sugar in a not so little way. When it comes time to eat carbs, choose the options with the highest amount of nutrients. These can include whole-grain options like oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa. Starchy vegetables can also provide nutrition; although they do have carbs. Try eating pumpkin, green peas, corn and beans.
- Opt for the good fats. Olive oil and avocados can provide healthy monounsaturated fats for the body while fish and walnuts can provide the healthy polyunsaturated fats, which according to LIVESTRONG, is needed for healthy body function.
- Eat the right amount of protein. When diabetic seniors do not eat enough protein, they can lose weight. So it is important to talk to your doctor to determine what protein-rich foods are best for you to eat.
According to LIVESTRONG, seniors should keep in mind their other health concerns, such as heart disease or poor appetite. Talk to a doctor about the best food for you and work together to come up with a meal plan.
Exercising to Control the Disease
In an article about diabetes and exercise, the National Institute of Health (NIH) states that exercising regularly and being physically active can improve blood sugar in seniors whose levels are high. It also has the ability to help seniors manage weight, is great for the heart and lungs, and can help to give seniors an increased energy level. Here are some exercise ideas to help you get started:
- Get exercise by doing everyday things. Cleaning, gardening and walking count as exercise. Try to do these thing for 30 to 60 minutes per day in order get the most benefit – though any exercise activity is good.
- Do cardiovascular exercises. Activities such as swimming, dancing and biking can be beneficial in getting your heart rate up. According to an article by Everyday Health, seniors should get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five days a week.
- Try physical therapy. If you or a loved one are unable to get the necessary exercise, try visiting a physical therapist who can work with you so you can gain the benefits of exercise as well!
The NIH also states that it is important to talk to a doctor before beginning an exercise routine, as they can help you find safe and effective ways to be physical and active.
Personalized Wellness at The Bridges at Warwick
“At The Bridges at Warwick, we offer 24/7 nursing care and support in order to help our residents live their best lives. Our personalized nutritional services can help to ensure you or a loved one are following the best diet and getting the most nutritional benefits to help control diabetes,” says Sue. “For those who take advantage of exercise to control their disease, we provide personalized wellness programs as well as group classes in order to engage residents and encourage them to make well-being and self-care a routine.”
Activity. Friendship. Support. Convenience. Value.
Now open, you’ll find it all at The Bridges at Warwick, located in beautiful Bucks County, where every day is a celebration of seniors. Our philosophy of “Celebrating Life” means that our residents enjoy a sense of purpose and contentment along with fun, personalized care and a focus on total well-being.
Our Personalized Supportive Care provides just the right amount of assistance to help you remain independent, along with life-enriching programs, services and amenities. Our exclusive Vista Transitional Living Program is for our supportive care residents who have memory challenges but do not yet require a secure residence. For those whose memory loss is more advanced, we offer The Vista, our specialized, comprehensive memory care residence.
In keeping with our founder Robert Basile’s personal philosophy, developed during his efforts to find quality senior living for his beloved father, senior adults remain our passion. We fill our residents’ lives with countless opportunities to engage with both new and treasured friends; events and programs to enjoy with family members and loved ones; as well as innovative and creative activities that foster engagement. Our dedication to total wellness – for mind, body and spirit – is woven into our culture every day.