Managing Diabetes as You Age

If you find yourself struggling to manage diabetes with each passing year, you are not alone. Currently, of the 26 million people who are living with diabetes in the United States, seniors are the largest age group represented. One in four adults over age 60 have been diagnosed with the condition and must adopt a new lifestyle to cope and thrive in their later years.

Managing diabetes does not have to take up all of your precious time. If you were diagnosed later in life, you may feel disheartened that your goal of a healthy, stress-free retirement will not entirely meet your expectations any longer. Don’t worry – with a team of supporters helping and encouraging you and a single-minded focus on wellness, you can live freely while managing diabetes. These three steps can help you in that effort.

Create a Personalized Diet and Exercise Plan with Your Doctor

One of the most obvious changes diabetics must make is in their dietary habits. After consulting with your doctor, construct a meal plan that offers foods that do not contain much saturated fat, trans fat, sugar or salt. You want foods that are high in fiber with low calories. Fruits, vegetables, fresh meats, whole-grain breads and low-fat milk are all preferred options. It is also helpful to begin making water your main liquid rather than sugary soda or fruit juices.

Exercise is also important to managing diabetes because the sedentary lifestyle will only exacerbate unhealthy symptoms. Go for a short daily walk around your neighborhood and participate in activities that work different muscle groups, such as gardening or swimming at the local gym’s pool.

Keep Tracking Your Glucose, Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

Staying informed about the state of your health is vital. Ask your doctor for instructions on how to most accurately check your glucose levels. Learn how to translate those results and adjust how you manage your diabetes accordingly.

It’s also important to keep watch over your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as results that are too high can put you at risk for other diseases as well, such as heart problems or stroke. Learning how to manage diabetes and focusing on whole-body health can help you not only keep this condition under control, but monitor other areas to prevent additional harmful conditions.

Focus on Stress Reduction for Positive Mental Health

One of the lesser known side effects of managing diabetes is how the responsibility and dealing with the condition itself takes a toll on you mentally. You may feel incredible pressure to live up to the diet and exercise standards set forth by your doctor, but too much stress can actually harm you rather than help you.

Try to find methods of relaxation that help you on a daily basis, whether you find peace through yoga and meditation, reading a book while sitting outdoors or relaxing with friends and family around. Make your mental health a priority so you maintain a positive outlook on your life regardless of the state of your diabetes.

If some of your stress comes from the lack of security you may feel with your current healthcare coverage, discussing your concerns with the team at My Senior Health Plan could help relieve some of the burden and result in effective, immediate solutions.

Pete Blasi