Home Care and Diabetes in Illinois

One of the fastest growing issues in senior care is diabetes. More than 14 million elderly people have diabetes, or just over 1 in 4 seniors. Because most diabetics are still able to function normally with some assistance with managing their diabetes; it is common for seniors living with diabetes to stay in their home and receive assistance from a home care aide.

Diabetes is a manageable condition, but it can require a lot of effort. From dietary changes to frequent high blood sugar testing to frequent medical appointments, seniors living at home with diabetes face challenges that may require some assisted living.

Diabetes in the Elderly – What Is It?

There are two types of diabetes mellitus in the elderly, known as type 1 and type 2. Previously, they were known as juvenile diabetes and adult-onset diabetes, but those terms were found to be inaccurate. Even though they share a name and some of the same characteristics, type 1 and type 2 diabetes are quite different. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body stops producing enough insulin, and in many cases stops altogether.

Most type 2 diabetics still produce insulin, but their body does not absorb it correctly. Some mild cases of type 2 diabetes can be treated with a change in diet and more exercise. Many people with type 2 diabetes take oral medications, and some need insulin shots (most commonly, people with type 2 diabetes take some mix of the two).

Type 1 diabetics generally need insulin, either from a shot or an insulin pump. Because more than 90% of cases of diabetes in the elderly are type 2, we’ll focus on how home care can help type 2 diabetics, but some of the same things apply to type 1 as well.

Treating Type 2 Diabetes in the Elderly

It is important for people of all ages living with type 2 diabetes to focus on their treatment. Unlike some conditions for which taking medications is the only factor, seniors with type 2 diabetes may need to make significant lifestyle changes, which is where having a home care aide can be very helpful.

The biggest changes concern diet and exercise. Eating a healthy diet can not only help a type 2 diabetic control their blood glucose levels, it can also help with weight loss, which may help reverse some of the effects of the disease. Because of outdated notions about the disease, many people simply associate diabetes with sugary foods. While sweets are certainly something that should be limited in a healthy diet for diabetics, there is more to it than that.

Experts suggest consuming more of the following:

  • Fiber rich foods, such as vegetables, nuts, and legumes
  • Fish, which provides healthy protein while being lower in fat
  • “Good” fats such as avocados and nuts

Things to limit or avoid:

  • Saturated fats, like those from high-fat dairy or beef
  • Cholesterol, as from egg yolks and liver
  • Sodium (Be especially careful with this, as many foods that advertise as “low-sugar” compensate by adding sodium.)

One factor with planning a diet for type 2 diabetics that is discussed less than it should be is timing. To properly manage blood sugar levels, many experts suggest eating regular meals at the same time each day. A home care aide can assist with meal planning and preparation to ensure that nutritious meals are always available.

Diabetics in Home Care Need to Stay Active

Exercise is important for everyone, but especially for diabetics. Staying active can help keep blood sugars lower, help ameliorate circulatory issues, and improve mood. Many seniors who live at home report that performing household chores leaves them with little time or energy for proper exercise. Having a home care aide perform light housekeeping duties can free up that time and energy to get the 150 minutes of the type of weekly activity that experts recommend.

Medications Play an Important Role in Treating Diabetics in Home Care                                                              

As mentioned above, most diabetics take some sort of medications to treat their condition. And more than many other types of medications, the timing of when diabetes medications are taken is important. The actual timing varies (e.g., some seniors are encouraged to take insulin shots 30 minutes before meals, while others do so 15 minutes after eating).

Other medications may need to be taken at a certain time each day, and it can all be confusing, especially given that many seniors with diabetes are living with other conditions that require medication as well. Home care assistance can provide medication reminders that keep seniors on track with all their medications.

Home Care Powered by AUAF Can Help Diabetics Living at Home

From healthy meals to medication reminders and more; the dedicated professional caregivers at Home Care Powered by AUAF can help you; or your elderly loved one living with diabetes. Call us at 773-274-9262 or Contact us for information on how to get started with Home Care Powered by AUAF.

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