Diabetes requires constant attention and management, and seniors often find it particularly challenging. However, with the proper support and resources found in many senior living communities, seniors with diabetes can stay healthy and improve their quality of life.
The Importance of Diabetes Management for Seniors
Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to chronic health problems like heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, and vision loss. These complications can be even more dangerous for seniors with other health issues, but diabetes is not a barrier to a happy and healthy life. As long as the condition is effectively managed, seniors can maintain a good quality of life, reduce their risk of hospitalizations, and increase their life expectancy.
How a Senior Living Community Can Help You Manage Your Diabetes
Being a part of a supportive senior living community can help seniors manage their diabetes and maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. Here’s how:
Meal Plans & Nutritional Consultations
Diabetes-friendly meal plans should include a variety of healthy and nutrient-rich whole foods that are low in sugar and refined grains to help manage blood sugar levels. At senior living communities, these meal plans are usually created by licensed dieticians and nutritionists who understand seniors’ unique challenges with diabetes.
But creating a healthy meal plan isn’t the end of diabetes care. Education is also an integral component, so many communities may also provide nutrition education and counseling to help residents better understand their condition and how to manage it through their diet. That way, they know how to eat well, even during an outing.
If you’re considering moving yourself or a loved one to a senior living community, here are some questions you can ask about their nutritional offerings:
- How are the meal plans created, and who creates them? Are they reviewed by a licensed dietician or nutritionist?
- Can residents with diabetes make any special requests for their meals?
- Are meal options for people with diabetes rotated regularly to offer variety, or are they the same meals each day/week?
- Are any educational programs available to residents about managing diabetes and healthy eating?
- How are dietary restrictions or allergies accommodated in meal plans for seniors with diabetes?
For seniors with diabetes, staying active is just as crucial to managing their health. Regular physical activity can make the body more sensitive to insulin, allowing cells to use blood sugar for energy.
Participating in activities such as group exercise classes, walking groups, or even gardening can help manage diabetes. And as an added benefit, physical activity can also foster a sense of community and connectedness among senior living residents. Low-impact exercises such as yoga or water aerobics may also be beneficial for improving mobility and heart health.
People with diabetes must control their blood sugar levels to avoid serious health complications, so many senior living communities provide seniors with a dedicated healthcare team to oversee their diabetes treatment plan. This team may include nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals who can work together to monitor glucose levels and adjust residents’ medications as needed.
Senior living communities have trained staff members who can assist seniors in taking their medications consistently and on time. Staff members can also address concerns about side effects, drug interactions, and other medication-related issues.
Here are some questions you can ask your chosen community about blood sugar monitoring and medication assistance:
How do you monitor blood glucose levels for residents with diabetes?
- How often do you check residents’ glucose levels, and how do you keep track of the results?
- Do you have protocols for dealing with high or low glucose levels?
- How do you communicate with diabetic residents’ families or doctors regarding their progress and treatment plans?
- Do you have staff members who can help me/my loved one take medications as prescribed?
- Are there any additional costs associated with diabetes management services?
Regular check-ups are crucial to managing diabetes. Senior living communities typically have on-site medical staff who can provide routine check-ups and monitor seniors’ blood sugar levels. They can also assess seniors for signs of complications and recommend appropriate care should any complications arise.
You should always ask questions to ensure you or your loved one will receive the care you expect. Here are some questions about routine check-ups that you should consider asking when you’re touring a senior living facility:
- How often do you perform check-ups for diabetic residents?
- What is included in a regular check-up for diabetic residents?
- How do you communicate with diabetic residents’ primary care physicians regarding results and treatment plans?
- Do check-ups have an additional cost, or are they covered under the price of residency?
Lighthouse Senior Living Prioritizes Health & Wellness
Whether you’re managing diabetes or another medical condition, Lighthouse Senior Living offers an array of amenities and services to ensure you lead an active, healthy lifestyle. Contact us today to schedule a tour and see why we’re the perfect place for you to call home.