Nov 13, 2017 by Sandra Hatch
Getting through the holidays can be tricky for older adults with diabetes. No one wants to have to give up those delicious holiday meals, but seniors also need to be careful when it comes to managing their diabetes. It’s Diabetes Awareness Month in Fresno, CA, a great time for seniors to start thinking about how they can manage their diabetes during the holiday season without having to skip all that delicious holiday food. The following home health aide tips help seniors with diabetes to safely enjoy the holidays:
Often times, diabetic seniors skip their workouts during the holiday season; however, it’s important that seniors keep getting regular exercise during the holidays. The exercise will help them keep their blood sugar stable. And it will also help slow down any holiday weight gain that comes from eating those holiday treats. A home health aide can be a big motivator for seniors to keep on a regular exercise schedule even during the holidays. Some of the best exercises for older adults with diabetes include brisk walking outside or on a treadmill, water aerobics or swimming, bicycling, tai-chi, yoga, and stationary bicycling.
If older adults with diabetes are cooking dinner for their family or attending a dinner at a loved one’s home, they should search for healthy alternatives to traditional holiday dishes. For example, rather than cooking with high fat and high calorie sour cream traditional dishes and dips can be made with plain yogurt which is just as tasty but lower in fat and calories. A home health aide can help seniors make these kinds of easy substitutions to make the dishes they love to cook and eat during the holidays better for managing diabetes.
Instead of regular cakes and cookies, they should opt for ones that are made of sugar-free sweeteners.
Due to the fact that the holiday season is filled with social gatherings, many seniors stay out later and don’t get enough sleep as a result. Since sleep loss can make it more difficult for them to control their blood sugar, and sleep deprivation almost always leads to overindulging in foods that are high in fat and sugar, it’s imperative that older adults get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every evening.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not a good idea for older adults to skip meals in order to save up for a big holiday feast. By doing so, seniors will find it more challenging to control their blood sugar. They will likely be starving and more likely to overeat if they skip meals than they would if they eat a nutritious meal a few hours beforehand.
Holiday gatherings almost always involve some type of alcohol. While it’s okay for seniors to have a drink or two, they should be careful not to overdrink as alcohol can reduce blood sugar levels and interact with diabetes medications. In the event that they do decide to drink, diabetic older adults should pair their alcohol with food.
Sticking to a diabetes meal plan and healthy lifestyle choices can be tough when there are temptations and holiday gatherings that make it easy for seniors to splurge. The good news is it can be done when older adults make it a priority to look for diabetes friendly alternatives to traditional holiday dishes, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, avoid skipping meals, and limit their alcohol intake.
If you have a senior loved one in Fresno, CA that has diabetes and you’re worried about them getting through the holidays safely, contact us or call (559) 365-6440 today. One of our senior care specialists will be happy to answer your questions about a home health aide and help you design a care plan that will keep your loved one healthy this holiday season.