Tools for managing diabetes in the elderly require us to look closely at lifestyle habits. Diabetes is a health condition when the body does not produce enough insulin (or use it in the right way) to break down the sugars in your body. This results in your body not being able to absorb the sugar, also called glucose, that it needs for energy to function properly.
There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Children more often diagnosed with Type 1. While Type 1 is incurable it’s also less common than Type 2. This article will focus on the more common and curable, Type 2.
According to the CDC, about 12 million Americans (age 65+) suffer from diabetes. Get to know the symptoms, risks, and prevention tools available to you.
Risk factors in the Elderly
The elderly are at the greatest risk for developing Type 2 diabetes simply because they have been alive the longest. The tools for managing diabetes in the elderly are part of a larger comprehensive approach to care. High blood sugar levels, limited access to healthy food choices, a sedentary lifestyle, and a predisposition to obesity are all risk factors for diabetes.
Experts agree that family history + lifestyle choices determine your personal diabetes outcome!
Do you suspect that you or your aging loved one may have diabetes? Here is a shortlist of the most common symptoms (this is not a comprehensive list):
Always feeling very tired
Always feeling very hungry
Tingling, pain, or numbness in hands and/or feet
Wounds are slow to heal
Areas of dark skin, typically around the neck and armpits
It’s important to discuss any symptoms with your doctor.
Associated Risks with Type 2 Diabetes
People with Type 2 have a higher risk of developing heart disease and the many related symptoms that come with it. It’s important that you and your doctor work together to control your diabetes, as uncontrolled diabetes can damage the artery walls and contribute to coronary heart disease. Meaning the tools for managing diabetes in the elderly can have a direct impact on overall health.
People who are overweight or have a genetic predisposition to heart disease need to be extra aware of the food they are eating and their activity levels. People may also develop serious problems with their eyes and kidneys and experience nerve damage that can result in amputation. They are also at a higher risk for cancer, stroke, and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Prevention Tools for Managing Diabetes in the Elderly
Type 2 is 100% preventable! Organizations around the world are leading the effort to educate people on the prevention and management of Type 2 because so many people suffer from it. Preventing Type 2 is simple, but not necessarily easy.
The key is maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is by eating healthy foods and exercising consistently. Taking walks, jogging, water aerobics, yoga, Silver Sneakers classes, and lifting weights are all great options to keep blood sugar levels low.
Encourage the elderly to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, limit convenience or prepared foods, and to drink water and tea instead of soda and juice. If you are looking for assistance or advice in the care of the senior in your life, Nestvy offers comprehensive and simple senior and home care solutions for you and your family. Best of all, our services are always free to you. You may easily contact us anytime here.
Learn how to prevent and recognize respiratory illnesses in seniors, because what may start out as a runny nose or cough can quickly turn into something far more serious. As we age, the immune system is weakened, so knowing how to prevent and recognize respiratory illnesses in seniors can lower their risk for a host of health problems, including most respiratory illnesses.
Seniors who contract respiratory illnesses are often hospitalized, and unfortunately, some of those cases end in death. Respiratory illnesses and diseases can include the following:
Pneumonia (an infection in the lungs)
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (a chronic disease of the lungs that makes it hard to breathe)
RSV, respiratory syncytial virus, a virus that attacks the lungs and airways
Contracting a respiratory illness and disease cannot always be prevented, but there are steps everyone can take to prevent the spread of infection. These practices are especially important if you are taking care of a senior or work closely with them.
Wash your hands often, and remind seniors to do the same.
When coughing and sneezing, always cough and sneeze in the crook of your elbow and not on your hands.
Make sure to keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs easily make their way into our bodies through these openings.
If it’s possible, avoid close contact with others who are sick.
Disinfect surfaces, especially door handles, tables, countertops, cellphones, and anything else frequently touched.
As hard as it is, stay home if you are sick. Spreading your germs to those around you does much more harm than you missing an event activity, so make sure to stay away from others until you are better.
Avoid tobacco smoke, vapors, and other pollutants
Maintain a diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats and refined sugars
There can be lower and upper respiratory tract infections. Lower tract infections present more often as coughing, while upper respiratory infections present with cold-like symptoms. Here are some symptoms to look out for:
Stuffed up nose
The following symptoms would indicate that there is something more serious going on and you should seek out medical help immediately:
Rapid breathing/difficulty breathing
Blue tint to the skin
Severe cough that produces phlegm
Concerned about your aging loved one’s lung health? See what’s considered a normal part of the aging process and what’s not.
If your aging loved one resides in a nursing home or assisted living facility or has recently stayed in a hospital, it’s especially important to be aware of any symptoms as soon as they start. A weakened immune system and being around others with weakened immune systems increase the risk of infection.
In the fall and winter months, it is very important that you and your aging loved one get the flu vaccine, as contracting the flu can be incredibly serious for a senior with an already compromised immune system.
If you are looking for assistance or advice in the care of the senior in your life, Nestvy offers comprehensive and simple senior and home care solutions for you and your family so you can be confident you’re choosing the best option for your specific situation. Best of all, our services are always free to you. You may easily contact us anytime here.
Recognizing and preventing stroke in seniors requires a comprehensive approach to senior care. Older adults are at a higher risk for stroke, especially those with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, those who are overweight, and obese.
Recognizing and preventing stroke in seniors is no easy feat. According to the National Institute on Aging, “Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, and causes more serious long-term disabilities than any other disease.”
Signs Your Aging Loved One is Having a Stroke
Strokes are just as serious as heart attacks, so it’s important to know the signs in case you or someone around you should suffer from one. Because strokes happen extremely suddenly, call 911 right away if you or someone with you has:
Dizziness, loss of balance, or trouble walking
Problems seeing out of one or both eyes
Sudden confusion or trouble speaking
Numbness or weakness in the arm, face, or leg- especially on one side of the body
Sudden severe headache with no apparent cause
Sometimes these symptoms only last for a short time, making you wonder if they truly happened at all. These can be transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), or mini-strokes, and are just as serious as major strokes, in that if not dealt with right away, a major stroke could follow right behind it.
Avoiding a stroke is not entirely possible, as some factors like age, family history, and race are things that cannot be controlled. Lifestyle choices, however, can greatly reduce the risk of having a stroke. Here are some lifestyle choices that can keep you stroke-free:
Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. You can monitor these by regular visits to your doctor and by following the instructions he or she gives you for maintaining healthy levels.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, make sure you are controlling it.
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables every day, along with foods low in saturated fats and cholesterol will keep your heart healthy and happy.
Consistent exercise that includes both cardio and weight training is essential for low blood pressure and low cholesterol.
In short, take good care of your body and your body will take good care of you.
After a Stroke
There are many side effects to expect after a stroke. Since it largely depends on the part of the brain that’s affected, side effects will vary.
Paralysis on one side of the body or muscle weakness
Problems speaking or swallowing
Loss in memory, judgment, the ability to learn new skills, attention, and awareness.
Almost all stroke patients will go through physical and occupational therapy to relearn and strengthen the muscles and skills that have been affected. As a caregiver, and especially if you are a family member, this can be a very difficult time in your family’s life. Rehabilitation is a slow process, and it takes patience and compassion to walk through recovery.
Whether you’re caring for a senior in your home or you work in the senior care profession, it’s important to encourage prevention practices for stroke. After all, prevention is the best medicine! Nestvy offers simple senior and home care solutions that are custom-made to fit your needs. Visit us for a completely free consultation.
The #1 cause of death from injury in seniors is preventable.
Yes, you read that right. The #1 cause of death from injury in seniors is preventable.
The sad reality is that 1 in 4 people age 65 and older will suffer a fall-related injury. Every 11 seconds an older adult is seen in an ER for a fall-related injury. According to the National Council On Aging, falls account for the majority of injuries for people age 65 and older.
As we become older, our balance, flexibility, and coordination suffer. This naturally leads to an increase in the chances that we will fall or trip over something. Falling is not a normal part of aging, and it can be prevented by taking a few simple steps. Don’t wait until it’s too late. It is much harder to recover from an injury than to prevent one in the first place.
However, most seniors don’t think they will be the victim of a fall, and it isn’t until after an incident that they begin to seek out help. Here are a few preventative measures you can take now to limit the chances of succumbing to a fall.
1. Be honest with your doctor.
After all, most of the time medications or chronic illnesses contribute to falling, therefore it’s important to report any dizziness, lightheadedness, or vision problems right away. Also make sure to mention joint pain or any problems with the feet, ankles, knees, or hips, as a problem in any of those areas can lead to a fall.
2. Look around your living space.
Identify any potential items or furniture that can contribute to a fall.
3. Pay attention to how you move.
Do you hold on to a wall or chair for support? Are you steady on your feet with good balance? Do you have trouble standing up or sitting down? Any of these can be an indicator that there is a deeper physical problem and it’s best to be proactive in addressing it.
4. Get out and moving!
As adults age, chronic illnesses and pain can play a large part in reducing mobility. However, it’s a common misconception that remaining inactive will lessen the chances of a fall, but the opposite is actually true. Daily physical and social activity helps to maintain flexibility, range of motion and keeps your mind working strong. Remember, it’s never too late to regain strength and flexibility.
Prevention is the best way to reduce fall-related injuries in seniors!
If you need advice or assistance in caring for an aging loved one, Nestvy is pleased to offer simple care solutions that are custom-made to fit you. Our services are paid for by the community care providers that we refer families to, so you and your family never pay a dime to use our services. Contact us for a simpler way to senior care.