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Diabetics Make Wise Choices
By Valerie Thelen, Staff Writer
What a diabetic eats each and every day is the most
important factor in maintaining healthy blood sugar
(glucose) levels. If a caregiver is responsible for
shopping and/or providing meals for a loved one, they
must have a keen awareness of which foods to and not to
What kinds of food wreak havoc on blood sugar levels?
Refined sugars and refined grains are the top two
offenders. Here are a few tips to keep a loved oneís
Stock up on protein. Eggs,
chicken, beans, fish, hummus, low-fat cheese, nuts
and seeds are all great options.
Eat seafood at least three times a
Keep packaged snacks and
other foods to a minimum. Itís human nature. If the
cookies and chips are available, they will be eaten.
Keep those items sparingly around a loved oneís
Buy high-quality spices and
fresh herbs. A little bit of flavor can go a long
way into making a meal score above average in a
Keep lots of low-glycemic fruits
on hand. These include apples, peaches, pears and
plums. Due to the natural sugar content, fruits must
be portioned reasonably.
Every person has their own level of exercise ability.
With a diabetic senior, itís so important to encourage
any exercise no matter how little it may seem. There are
many studies proving the benefit of regular exercise to
someone with diabetes. Walking is a perfect fit for many
seniors who may struggle with more high-impact aerobic
As a caregiver, itís recommended to not nag, but
encourage. A caregiver must also realize that they canít
make a loved one do anything. It has to be their
decision and a caregiver can merely help facilitate that
choice by offering practical ways to exercise and find
out what their loved one enjoys.
A stationary bike is also a good exercise option for
seniors. If mobility is an issue, there are many chair
options such as ďSit and Be Fit,Ē available on public
television, video or DVD.
Diabetic counselors are great resources for caregivers
looking for other options to present to a loved one.
They are trained in promoting a healthy diabetic
lifestyle and may have a voice of ďauthorityĒ a loved
one will respond to.
Especially with seniors, caregivers must watch for
symptoms that their loved oneís diabetes is causing
complications. Many times seniors wonít or canít express
difficulties they are having. Chronically high
blood sugar levels can lead to damage to nearly every
body organ. If a loved one is also suffering from high
cholesterol or blood pressure, the risks are greater.
Complications with diabetes can happen to even the most
diligent patient. A caregiver should not make a loved
one feel as if they have done something wrong, but
encourage good habits and help them manage the illness
as best they can. A telling symptom of severe
complications include neuropathy, so a caregiver should
frequently check a loved oneís feet for infection and
loss of feeling. Other skin areas should be watched for
infection, fungus and boils.
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that will have a lot of
ups and downs throughout the course of a loved oneís
life. With a proactive approach and positive attitude
from both caregiver and loved one, diabetes can be