Nov 9, 2017 by Kristina Butler
Type 2 diabetes is all too common among American seniors. In fact, more than one in four seniors over the age of 65 have this terrible disease. During the holidays, seniors may find it increasingly difficult to maintain their positive life choices and keep their blood sugars stable. November is American Diabetes Month. In honor of this occasion, Comfort Keepers long-term care associates have compiled a short list of suggestions to keep your senior loved one in control of their diabetes this holiday season.
The American Diabetes Association says that the first step in Type 2 diabetes control is getting more physical activity and maintaining a proper weight. Second, a healthy diet should be established to keep the weight down and prevent blood sugar fluctuations. These steps do not change with the seasons or the holidays being celebrated.
Regular physical activity helps seniors obtain and maintain a healthy weight. It also helps lower and control blood sugar, burn calories, and increase the body's sensitivity to insulin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend three to five days of aerobic training and at least two days of resistance training each week, but during the holidays, senior should strive just to keep themselves active. Family gatherings, late nights, frequent social events, and other distractions can make getting exercise difficult, but even a brisk 30-minute walk, half an hour on a bike or treadmill, or a session of yoga each day can make a huge difference. For elders receiving long-term care support, caregivers can help seniors find creative ways to stay active despite the many holiday distractions.
While holiday meals are often not diabetic-friendly, there are ways to eat smart. First, keeping healthy snacks on-hand and eating at regular meal times can prevent overindulging at feast time. Second, preparing and eating high-fiber alternatives can help limit the amount of food eaten while keeping blood sugar stabilized. One of the best forms of fiber is whole grain, which is loaded with B vitamins, iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium. According to WebMD, whole grains are one of the most powerful foods for diabetes control since they help the body regulate blood sugar levels. Long-term care providers can help seniors make healthy food choices.
Seniors can also try healthy food alternatives in place of traditional dinner foods. By opting for alternative food choices, seniors can eat the foods they enjoy without upsetting their routine. For example, high fat and sugar treats might be replaced by sugar-free deserts and a cauliflower mash might be served instead of mashed potatoes.
For more information about American Diabetes Month or to learn more about the many ways Comfort Keepers long-term care can help your loved one remain safe, independent, and enjoying a high quality life, contact a senior care coordinator today.
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