Did you know that March 22 is American Diabetes Alert Day? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 million people in the United States have diabetes. That is 9.3 percent of all Americans! Most of those cases involve type 2 diabetes, which is preventable. Diabetes.org has identified that almost 26 percent of seniors over age 65 has diabetes; much higher than the national average. They also note that diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
There are several ways to avoid getting type 2 diabetes. Although it helps to start when you are younger, it is never too late to start!
Here are 4 tips to avoid getting type 2 diabetes at any age:
- Eat Healthier. Sure that may be easier said than done, but it doesn’t have to be. Make one simple change at a time. Put less salt on your food. Choose a vegetarian meal versus a burger or other red meat once (or more) a week. Eat less processed foods – if it comes in a box or a jar, pass it by in favor of something fresh. If you are caring for an older loved one, try to make a healthy meal for them at least once-in-a-while instead of frozen dinners which have a lot of salt, sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.
- Exercise More. If you are not getting any physical activity, try to do something once or twice a week. If you exercise a couple times a week already, add one more day to your routine. You don’t have to run a marathon to be in shape; just do what you can. If you can walk, run, bike or swim, do it! Mix up your routine so you don’t get bored. Not only will you feel better physically, but exercising your body is a great way to keep your brain healthy too. Now that’s a win-win!
If you want to help an older adult get more physical activity in their day, take a walk with them. With the spring days getting longer and the weather getting warmer it is good to get them out and enjoy the nice days. If the weather isn’t great, go to a mall and walk around. It gets them out of the house and they can interact with the environment around them.
Always consult your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.
- Lose the Extra Weight. If you are eating healthier and getting more physical activity, you may lose some of that ‘winter weight’ without having to do anything else. Being overweight is one of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Losing a few pounds (or more) to get to a healthier weight is very beneficial at any age.
- Stress Less. High blood pressure is a risk factor for diabetes. Focus on the things that you can change and worry less about the things that you can’t change. You remember the Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
Even a few minutes of meditation each day can help a person re-focus their energy and have a positive mental attitude. Help your older loved one focus on happy memories, not sad or disturbing ones that make them upset.
Once you have diabetes, you are constantly in need of controlling it, so take steps now to prevent it. With some small, easy changes to your lifestyle, you can make a big difference in your health – and for those loved ones around you.
At Assisting Hands Home Care we can provide your loved one with healthy meals and daily activity to keep their mind and body in as good a condition as possible. Whether you need someone to be with your loved one during the day, in the evening or overnight, we can accommodate your needs. You will sleep better knowing that your loved one isn’t home alone when they need help with medication, fall prevention, personal care, eating or other needs.