Jordan took his mother, Adeline (76), to the doctor for her routine checkup. Though Jordan was pleased to hear that his mother’s blood pressure was staying under control, he was disconcerted by the doctor’s diagnosis of pre-diabetes. Jordan knew about diabetes and how serious it could be, but he’d never heard of pre-diabetes. The doctor told Jordan that the condition was certainly something to be concerned about, but that it didn’t have to mean that Adeline went on to develop diabetes.
If your aging relative has been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, there’s no reason they have to get diabetes either. There are certain lifestyle changes that can help prevent the condition.
What is Pre-Diabetes?
You may have heard of pre-diabetes by another name – “borderline diabetes.” Essentially, it’s a warning sign that diabetes is imminent if the older adult doesn’t make changes to avoid it. A diagnosis of pre-diabetes means that the person’s blood sugar level is higher than it should be. But, it isn’t so high that the person has diabetes. Without treatment, though, it usually turns into diabetes within about 10 years.
There aren’t typically any symptoms associated with prediabetes, so the only way to find out a person has it is through medical testing. Once diagnosed, you should watch for signs the disease may have developed into type 2 diabetes. Some of the signs are:
- Being thirstier than usual.
- Urinating often.
- Feeling tired.
- Blurry vision.
- Cuts and sores that don’t heal.
What Changes Can Prevent Diabetes?
According to WebMD, preventing diabetes requires three main lifestyle changes. Those changes are:
- Lose Weight: If your aging relative is overweight, it’s more likely that their prediabetes will become type 2 diabetes. Even a small weight loss, as little as 5 to 10 percent, can help.
- Healthy Diet: The way a person eats affects their blood sugar levels as well as their weight and overall health. Older adults who have pre-diabetes should consume a diet that includes vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Choose low-calorie foods and foods that are high in fiber to help the older adult feel fuller.
- Exercise: Studies show that just 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week can help prevent diabetes. Some good forms of exercise for older adults are walking, yoga, tai chi, and swimming. Talk to the senior’s doctor about starting to exercise if they are currently inactive.
Home care can assist older adults diagnosed with pre-diabetes to make these important lifestyle changes. Weight loss can be difficult, but encouragement from a home care provider can make it easier to reach goals. Home care providers can cook healthy, delicious meals that help reduce weight. Home care providers can also go for walks with your aging relative to ensure they remain safe. Or, if they prefer other kinds of exercise, a home care provider can drive them to the gym or keep an eye on them while they exercise at home.
If you have a loved one who could benefit from home care in Vallejo, CA, contact the caregivers at A Better Living Home Care Agency. We help seniors and their families with many levels of home care. Call 925-566-2366 for more information.