Just over 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year, and many of those individuals are over the age of 65. One recent study funded by the American Diabetes Association revealed that just over 25 percent of the senior population has diabetes. With some hard work and ongoing support, your aging parent might be able to control his or her blood sugar levels. Here are a few steps you should take if your parent develops diabetes.
1. Educate Your Parent
Many older adults don’t realize just how devastating type 2 diabetes can be, which is why you should spend some time teaching your parent about the potential dangers. When left untreated, diabetes can result in a myriad of health complications, including kidney disease, nerve damage, impaired vision, dental disorders, and heart disease. Your parent should also know that type 2 diabetes can be controlled through healthy lifestyle choices.
If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care. Tucson Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
2. Keep an Eye Out for Blood Sugar Fluctuations
Diabetes makes it difficult for the body to produce or regulate insulin, which can cause blood sugar spikes and lulls. If your loved one’s blood sugar levels become unstable, he or she could easily trip, fall over, or experience memory loss. Some of the early warning signs of blood sugar fluctuations include fatigue, irritability, headaches, blurred vision, extreme thirst, and difficulty concentrating.
3. Change Your Own Eating Habits
One of the most effective ways to get a family member to stick to a healthy diet is to follow the same diet yourself. If you prepare a few healthy meals for your parent, try to eat the same dishes. You also need to be wary of what foods and beverages you bring into your loved one’s home. Stocking the refrigerator with soda and sweet treats is only going to make this process more difficult than it needs to be.
4. Consider Your Parent’s Quality of Life
Making sweeping lifestyle changes can be overwhelming for older adults, which is why many family caregivers focus on small adjustments. Instead of completely changing your parent’s diet overnight, you might want to cut out one or two unhealthy treats. You can also encourage your loved one to exercise at least three or four times a week. Gardening, going for walks, and swimming are all great options for older adults who have diabetes.
5. Watch for Signs of Depression
Depression is a common issue among older adults, and being diagnosed with a serious medical condition can trigger an emotional health disorder. You might want to contact a therapist or psychologist if your parent becomes sullen, reclusive, or combative. Older adults who are living with depression often try to hide from their loved ones as well.
Regular socialization can help older adults stave off depression. For families living in Tucson, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.
6. Keep Insulin Supplies Organized
While lifestyle changes can sometimes reverse diabetes, your parent will most likely be prescribed at least a few different medications. Insulin is the most common medication for diabetics, and your loved one might need to take multiple pills or receive multiple injections every day. Creating a daily checklist can reduce the risk of overdosing or skipping a dose.
Caring for older adults with serious health issues can be a challenging task. If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Tucson, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more. Call us at (520) 276-6555 to schedule a free in-home consultation.