Nov 10, 2017 by Robert Myer
The holidays can be difficult for seniors who have diabetes. In honor of Diabetes Awareness Month this November, Comfort Keepers of El Dorado, AR has created the following list of elder care services and tips to help seniors manage their diabetes during the holiday season without having to give up those delicious traditional holiday foods and drinks.
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.
Seniors who are cooking dinner for their families or making traditional holiday baked goods can use the assistance provided by elder care services to change those traditional recipes and make them diabetic friendly. An in home caregiver will be a big help cooking holiday favorites that a diabetic can eat safely.
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.
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.
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 your senior loved one in El Dorado, AR or the nearby area loves to cook for the holidays but has diabetes and you’re worried about them managing their diabetes during the hectic holiday season contact us or call (870) 345-3555 today to find out more about elder care services. Our experienced and sympathetic caregivers will be able to give your loved one the extra care and support they need during the holidays and throughout the year.