Nov 10, 2017 by Robert Myer
Seniors don’t need to give up the delicious food and drink that’s only available during the holidays just because they have diabetes. Seniors who follow these easy tips can enjoy all the holiday classics they love and manage their diabetes if they are careful and make good choices. It’s Diabetes Awareness Month so we’ve put together this list of easy to follow tips and tricks that seniors can use to stay healthy through the holidays. Seniors should also consider having a caregiver that can help them manage their diabetes and avoid blood sugar spikes during the holidays.
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.
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. Seniors who are having trouble keeping track of their meals or remembering to eat regular meals should have a caregiver keeping track of their meals and what they’ve eaten to make it easier to manage their diabetes during the holidays.
Often times, diabetic seniors forget to exercise during the holiday season. This is unfortunate because working out on a regular basis during the holidays can help stabilize blood sugar and even offset the effects of a large meal. 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.
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.
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.
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 preparing regular mashed potatoes, they can make cauliflower mashed potatoes. Instead of regular cakes and cookies, they should opt for ones that are made of sugar-free sweeteners.
If your senior loved one in Alexandria, LA has diabetes and struggles to manage their blood sugar during the holidays, contact us or call (318) 239-9715 today to find out how an in home caregiver can help your loved one. Our experienced and compassionate Comfort Keepers caregivers can help seniors with diabetes enjoy the holidays without making their diabetes worse.