To remain healthy is to remain happy, but as we age it can be more challenging to keep our health up and enjoy independent senior living to the fullest. One of the challenges some older adults may have to manage is diabetes.
Elderly diabetes isn’t uncommon, with around 16% of people over 65 living with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. For seniors with diabetes, it’s a good idea to start diabetes management with our diet, given that diabetes revolves around the food we eat and when we eat it.
Planning a healthy diet that manages Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can be tricky. But it doesn’t have to be too complicated. Let’s look at how seniors with diabetes may be affected and suggest some easy diet tips to make food fun again!
How Can Diabetes Affect Our Health?
Diabetes revolves around insulin or a lack thereof! Whether Type 1 or Type 2, the pancreas stops being able to produce the insulin it needs to regulate blood glucose (commonly known as blood sugar) levels in the body. Essentially, our pancreas becomes more style than substance!
Here are some health conditions to look out for if we are a senior adult or older person living with diabetes.
Increased Falls & Chance of Injury
Diabetes can affect our eyesight, and if we have hypoglycaemic episodes, there are more chances of passing out or losing our balance, resulting in falls. Falls are never good, but for an elderly person, a fall can have longer-lasting consequences as their body can take longer to recover.
There are many available medications to manage diabetes, and some of these will conflict with other medicines you can take. Type 1 relies on insulin replacements, whereas Type 2 diabetics can often get away with tablets to regulate their blood sugars, such as metformin.
A great idea is to talk to your doctors or professionals at your independent senior retirement village to learn about what to take, and what not to take!
Higher Chances of Medical Complications
Diabetes can affect all parts of our bodies, from our kidneys to our eyes, our feet to our thyroid. If we do have medical complications from diabetes, it can mean it’s harder to move our bodies and keep a healthy fitness regime.
However, these are often preventable if we get on top of our conditions quickly, and food is a massive part of this. So let’s look at some healthy diet tips!
Dietary Tips to Manage Diabetes as We Age
Pay Attention to Portion Size
A healthy diet starts with a balanced diet. We should pay attention to the portion size of each element on our plates. Try filling half the plate with non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli or green beans, a quarter with good quality lean protein such as fish, tofu or eggs, and the remaining quarter with deliciously starchy vegetables such as kumara.
Be Aware of What We’re Drinking
Having diabetes doesn’t mean we have to convert to teetotalers, but paying attention to the alcohol we consume is a good idea (even if we’re not diabetic!). When we drink alcohol, our liver doesn’t send the right signals to our pancreas to send out insulin. If we drink too much at a time, our blood sugars can spike and then drop suddenly, leading to hypos (hypoglycaemia) or feeling unwell.
Carbohydrates often get a bad rap in the realm of diets and pseudo ‘healthy eating’. But they are important, we just need to take note of the types of carbs we consume. On the whole, slow-releasing, high fibre options such as wholemeal bread, brown rice or pumpkin are the best!
Fun Food Ideas for Diabetes-Friendly Eating
Have Fun With Frozen Fruit
Fresh fruit is delicious, but frozen fruit is the next level! Not only can frozen fruit last forever, but you can make some delicious treats with them too. Experiment with your favourite fruity treat by making delicious smoothies or even making diabetes-friendly banana nice cream.
Eat Delicious Fish for Healthy Omegas
Fish is a great option for a diabetic diet. It’s heavy in omega-3 fatty acids and protein to keep our hearts, hair, and eyes healthy. Try a delicious baked salmon, or keep it simple with a tuna and chickpea salad. Delicious!
Snacks Are Important for Our Health!
The best thing about diabetes is the snacks. Eating regularly throughout the day helps to keep our blood sugars stable, so having delectable snacks lying around is a good idea. Try some peanut butter on crackers, popcorn, a juicy peach, or go all out with Greek yoghurt, berries, and a dash of vanilla for a touch of gourmet three-thirty-itis!
Feel Cared for Yet Independent With Settlers Village
Diabetes in older adults is serious, but it is also manageable. At Settlers Lifestyle Villages in Auckland, we help you live your life with the assurance of professional help whenever you need it. It’s independent senior living at its best, with 24-hour medical service, and facilities to keep you fit and functional, all while enjoying your own space in an apartment to suit you!
Get in touch with us today to talk about how Settlers Lifestyle Village could be a great option for you.