How to Manage Your Diabetes: A Guide for Seniors

Greg Wilson

Updated on:

How to Manage Your Diabetes: A Guide for Seniors

    Laura's routine blood work came back with unexpected results.

    She had type 2 diabetes. Sitting in the doctor's office, she began to wonder what lifestyle changes she'd need to make.

    Over 30 million Americans have diabetes. If you are a loved one who was recently diagnosed with diabetes, let us help. This comprehensive guide will go over the best diabetes tips so that you can lead an exciting and fulfilling life.

    After all, managing diabetes can be easy if you know what you're doing. What senior advice do you need to know about living with diabetes? Read on to find out.

    Diabetes Management Care Schedule

    Skipping a doctor's appointment isn't a luxury diabetes patients can afford. Instead, maintaining a consistent diabetes care schedule is the best way to maintain a state of well-being.

    Since there's a lot to do when you have diabetes, it can be easy to let an exam slip through the cracks. That's why we suggest using your smartphone with a diabetes care schedule throughout the year. Preset notifications will make life easier.

    Your diabetes care schedule can include the everyday items that you need to complete, along with long-term goals. For instance, you should be checking your blood sugar frequently. Be sure to record your numbers and share -them with your healthcare team the next time you see them.

    Perform Foot Checks

    Along with checking your blood sugar, you'll need to perform daily foot checks. Using a mirror, notice if there's any type of cuts or swelling on the bottom of your feet. If you see any changes to the condition of your feet, let your doctor know right away.

    Other daily to-dos include physical activity, healthy eating, and taking your medicine. Long-term diabetes goals will include scheduling your 3-month doctor visits, staying on top of exams, and getting all of the lab tests your doctor orders. You'll also want to complete the necessary shots throughout the year, including your flu shot.

    Are you in need of mobility equipment for your diabetes management plan? Do you have Medicare?

    Find out what types of durable medical equipment your coverage will pay for. The more you can manage your diabetes at home, the better!

    Senior Advice Regarding Alcohol

    One of the biggest questions diabetes patients have is whether or not they can drink alcohol. The answer is going to vary from one person to the next.

    Your liver naturally releases sugars to balance blood sugar levels when they start to get low. If your liver is spending its time metabolizing alcohol, your blood sugar levels could suffer.

    Instead of getting the boost they need, your blood sugar levels can start to plummet. It's common for alcohol to cause low blood sugar shortly after drinking it.

    Low blood sugar can last for as long as 24 hours. That's not to say that you shouldn't drink alcohol when you have diabetes. Instead, the first step is to get the green light from your doctor.

    Find out if your doctor suggests drinking in moderation or abstaining from alcohol altogether. Often times alcohol can exacerbate diabetes conditions.

    Problems such as eye or nerve damage can become worse. If your diabetes is well under control, your doctor may allow an occasional alcoholic drink.

    For the best results, avoid drinking alcohol on an empty stomach. If you're taking diabetes medication, eating is even more vital.

    You could also drink while eating a meal to lessen the chances of low blood sugar. Be kind to your body by choosing dry wines and light beer with few calories. Try to avoid sugary mixed drinks that could raise your blood sugar.

    Above all else, keep track of your calories. Include the calories from any alcohol you drink in your daily calorie journal. Then you can ask your dietitian or doctor how to incorporate calories and carbohydrates into your diet plan.

    Handle Illness Wisely

    Handling illness wisely is next on our list of diabetes tips. Getting sick can be especially dangerous when you have diabetes.

    When you're under the weather, your body produces stress-related hormones like cortisol. The stress hormones are there to help fight the illness. However, stress hormones can also raise your blood sugar levels.

    You'll find that changes in your hormone levels can also impact your appetite and energy levels. If you get sick, you'll need to pay extra close attention to how your body's doing. If you have diabetes and get sick, it helps to have a plan.

    Plan ahead by creating an ill day schedule. Even if you're under the weather, you'll most likely need to continue taking your diabetes medication. Talk to your doctor about what medications you should take when you're sick and when to come in for an appointment. 

    If you completely lose your appetite, reach out to your doctor. Let your doctor know that you're having trouble eating, and ask for their advice on medication administration.

    You might have to temporarily reduce your insulin medication to avoid hypoglycemia. However, you shouldn't stop taking your long-acting insulin without talking to your doctor first.

    You'll also want to stick to your diabetes meal plans. You could even look into meal delivery options. Eating foods that are easy on your stomach will help you recover quickly.

    Foods like gelatin, soups, and applesauce are good sick day plan foods. Finally, stay hydrated. Drink fluids that don't add calories, such as water or tea.

    Overcoming Stress

    Are you feeling stressed out more than usual? Nobody likes dealing with stress. However, the intense feeling and emotion can become deadly dangerous when you have diabetes.

    Chronic stress can increase your blood sugar levels. You might have difficulty maintaining your diabetes routine if you're under intense pressure. The best thing you can do is to start noticing patterns.

    Begin monitoring your stress. We suggest keeping a stress journal.

    Every time you begin to stress out, notice how intense it is.  During each stress episode, rate your stress on a scale from 1 to 10.

    You should also rate your stress levels when checking your blood sugar levels. Pay attention to any patterns between your high-stress levels and low blood sugar levels.

    If you're noticing that stress is affecting your blood sugar level, take action. Learn relaxation methods and don't push yourself to the limit.

    Do whatever you can to avoid common triggers. Often exercises are the best stress relief tool, and they also help lower your blood sugar level.

    Get Enough Sleep

    Sleeping through the night matters for everyone, but it's essential when you have diabetes. Unfortunately, diabetes patients usually suffer from problems like insomnia.

    Fluctuating blood sugar levels and stress about the disease itself keep diabetics tossing and turning. The good news is that sleeping through the night with diabetes is possible if you know what to do.

    For one, you can look into using CBD sleep gummies (with your doctor's approval). Next, pay attention to your eating schedule.

    When your blood sugar levels are too high, your kidneys will overcompensate. You'll find yourself making frequent trips to urinate during the night, contributing to your sleep disruption.

    High blood sugar can also make you thirsty, tired, and overall uncomfortable. If you have low blood sugar levels, you might find yourself sweating through the night. Low blood sugar levels are often related to nightmares and cause diabetics to wake up disoriented.

    How can you cope with sleep issues? It all starts with carefully managing your blood sugar levels. It's also helpful if you have good sleep hygiene habits.

    For instance, keeping a regular sleep schedule is always beneficial. It also helps if you get adequate exercise throughout the day.

    Along with a sleep schedule and exercise, you'll also need to pay attention to your diet plan. Are you sticking to a consistent feeding schedule? Are you eating the foods that will give you the energy you need throughout the day?

    The right diet plan will keep your blood sugars controlled throughout the day and night. When all else fails, your doctor might be able to prescribe sleep aid specifically for diabetics. You might also need to complete a sleep study to better look at what's going on.

    Ambitiously Go After Your Goals

    Having diabetes doesn't mean you should stop making goals. Instead, as you work towards managing your health, you can start exploring meaningful ways to fulfill your life.

    For instance, try writing down your top 3 goals. Then begin to explore the small steps you can take towards reaching them.

    For example, maybe you have a plan to travel the world. Just because you've recently been diagnosed with diabetes doesn't mean you should give up on your dreams. 

    Instead, take small steps every day towards your goals, whatever they may be. If you dream of traveling the world, save a few dollars every day. When you finally have enough money saved up, reward yourself with a trip to your dream destination.

    Traveling with diabetes is all about preparation. Keep your blood sugar testing strips handy at all times.

    When traveling, be sure to test your blood glucose level at least 2 hours after meals. That way, you can evaluate how this fresh meal affects your body and determine how often you can have it.

    Avoid Cigarette Smoke

    Over 34 million Americans smoke cigarettes. Quitting smoking is one of the top diabetes tips to follow.

    For one, smoking can increase somebody's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Once you have diabetes, smoking can wind up causing more problems than you might think.

    For instance, regulating insulin levels can become nearly impossible when you have high amounts of nicotine in your system. The nicotine can counteract the insulin's effectiveness, which means your body will need more insulin. Before you know it, you'll be in an unbalanced state where your body requires more insulin and your blood sugar levels are completely out of whack.

    Left unchecked, your diabetes can wind up causing heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, or nerve damage. Smoking increases the risk of those types of complications.

    The minute you stop smoking, you'll be able to manage your diabetes much more quickly. As your body begins to heal, insulin will become better equipped to lower your blood sugar levels. Within just a few weeks of quitting smoking, your diabetes will be under much better control.

    Diabetes Tips for Exercise

    Exercising is one of the best ways to naturally manage your diabetes. First, you'll want to talk to your doctor about how often it's safe for you to exercise. You might need to undergo a medical exam like a treadmill test before starting your new exercise routine.

    Specific exercises should be avoided when you have diabetes. Here's a list of activities that usually work well for senior exercise plans. Your doctor will specify which exercises are good and which ones to steer clear up.

    Overall, it's a good idea to pick some type of workout that you enjoy. It'll be easier to fit the workout into your daily schedule when you want the exercise. For instance, some people enjoy bicycling while others enjoy walking.

    Perhaps you enjoy dancing to your favorite songs, or maybe a swim in the pool is how you want to work out. Once you have your preferred exercise method, you'll want to create a consistent routine. Exercising for the same amount of time each day is one of the best ways to regulate your blood sugar levels.

    Deal With Diabetes the Right Way

    Now you know some of the best diabetes tips! You can start creating a diabetes management plan today. Remember to include time for sleep and exercise, so you can feel your best.

    Here at Senior Affair, it's our mission to help you lead a fulfilling life. That's why we take the time to review products and explain medical programs.

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