September is Healthy Aging Month, making it a great time to reassess your diabetes care. The annual observance of Healthy Aging Month is designed to spotlight the aspects of growing older and encourage adults ages 50 and older to take another look at their health habits.
Currently, about 1 in every 4 Americans ages 60 and older have diabetes. For the next 15 years, baby boomers will be reaching retirement age and boomers will turn 65 at a rate of about 8,000 per day. This growing aging of the U.S. population is recognized as one of the catalysts of the diabetes epidemic, according to the American Diabetes Association.
So, here are some frequent problems of diabetes care that might need to be re-examined, no matter how old you are.
Many diabetics have slip-ups with food. As you know, sticking to the strict diet plan can be quite challenging. While mistakes happen, making smart food choices that align with diabetic-friendly recipes is crucial.
A good meal plan should fit in with your schedule and eating habits - there is no one-size-fits-all method. For those who need a little extra help, the plate method, carb counting and the glycemic index are important meal-planning tools. The right meal will help improve blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure numbers and help keep your weight on track.
If you're struggling to adhere to your food plan, talk to your nutritionist and doctor, who can help analyze and turn your mistakes into something productive. When you make healthy dietary decisions, you may be able to prevent diabetes complications such as heart disease and some cancers.
Avoiding responsibility of diabetes
Another major problem is simply not taking control of your condition.
"You are your own doctor 99.9 percent of the time," Dr. Andrew Ahmann, director of the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center at Oregon Health & Science University, told WebMD.
You are the one in the driver's seat, so it's your responsibility to steer yourself in the right direction. At any age, failing to manage diabetes symptoms can lead to serious complications. But the good news is that many problems can be avoided with the proper preventive methods.
For additional help, sign up for a class or a support group on coping with diabetes. Ahmann explained that these are excellent yet underused resources.
"Not enough patients seek them out, and not enough doctors send their patients to them."
Trying to do it alone
You're never too old to start making changes in your health regimen. Don't feel like you have to go at it alone.
"One error that people make when it comes to exercise is that they try to do it without help from other people," Ahmann told the source.
Friends, family members and spouses can act as both great exercise partners as well as cheerleaders. Letting other people into your diabetes orbit may be just the morale boost you need to push forward in your diabetes care.
To learn more about staying healthy with diabetes: