Diabetes in Older Adults: Prevention and Management Tips

diabetes in seniors

Over time, there’s been a significant rise in diabetes in seniors. Diabetes occurs as the result of high blood sugar or glucose. Although anyone can have diabetes, there’s a close relationship between diabetes and aging.

It’s one of the leading health conditions among older adults. Fortunately, it can be prevented and adequately managed.

For example, at Seasons Retirement, residents are served by a team of skilled chefs to meet dietary needs and aid in preventing and managing conditions like diabetes.

This article goes over this condition, its causes, prevention tips, how it affects people, and how to care for older persons with diabetes.

What is diabetes?

Most of the food we eat is broken down into glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose serves as our energy source.

However, the body must produce a hormone called insulin to help transfer this glucose from the bloodstream into the cells for energy retention.

Diabetes is the condition where an interference hinders the body from producing enough insulin or when the insulin falls short in its function of carrying glucose into your cells, resulting in a high glucose level.

The two types of diabetes include:

Type 1

Diabetes is type 1 when your body is unable to produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is more severe and commonly developed early in life.

If not handled properly, excess sugar levels in the bloodstream can harm other parts of your body, such as the kidney and heart. A type 1 diabetic person will depend on insulin therapy.

Type 2

Diabetes is type 2 when the insulin in your body cannot effectively manage your blood glucose.

Older adults are more likely to get type 2 because the body’s function can decline as they age. This explains the relationship between diabetes and aging.


Prediabetes is when your blood glucose is above the normal range but is not high enough to be regarded as diabetes. Prediabetes in older adults can quickly develop into type 2 diabetes.

Are you wondering how to support your loved one at home? Or would your loved one prefer a caring retirement community that caters to their needs?

At Seasons Retirement, care and support are prioritized to ensure the needs of your loved ones are met. Older adults in this community enjoy a lively, healthy, and well-balanced life.

What causes diabetes in seniors?

Some common factors that increase the risk of old age diabetes include:

  • Lack of exercise and physical activity
  • Being overweight
  • High blood pressure
  • Family history
  • Age (above 45 years)
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Ethnicity and race
  • A history of gestational diabetes

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes in seniors may include (but are not limited to) this list below. Talk to your caregiver if you notice some or all of these:

  • Blurred vision
  • Skin infections
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Incontinence urination
  • Depression or memory loss

Fortunately, these symptoms can be treated if you’re diagnosed early with prediabetes. With a few lifestyle changes, you can prevent it from advancing to diabetes.

Six helpful tips to prevent diabetes in seniors

1.   Shed the extra weight

Obesity exposes you to mild to severe health conditions. You can minimize the risk of diabetes by losing extra weight.

Diabetes Canada recommends that people with prediabetes lose at least 5% to 10% of their total weight to prevent type 2 diabetes in seniors.

Although it’s not easy, it’s achievable. Working with a specialist or a doctor, you can begin a weight-loss plan tailored to your current body weight.

2.   Begin a more physical and active lifestyle

Physical activity and regular exercise can help you lose weight, reduce your blood glucose levels, and help manage your blood sugar.

Yoga and aerobics exercises are excellent ways to shed weight and stay fit. Even stretching and standing for a few minutes reduces being sedentary, allowing you to take a break from sitting for too long.

3.   Eat healthy plants

Healthy plants can include whole grains, vegetables, fibre, and fruits to provide minerals, vitamins, and carbohydrates.

Food with high fibre improves healthy weight loss, reduces the risk of diabetes, and lowers blood sugar. Incorporating plants into your diet is a crucial step to healthy living.

4.   Consume healthy fats

Fatty foods are high in calories, which, when consumed in excess, can be detrimental to your health. Instead, opt for healthy fats.

Healthy fats can be found in almonds, olive, sunflower, avocado, safflower, cottonseed, peanuts, canola, pumpkin, salmon, tuna, and sardines.

Saturated fat found in meat should be consumed in small quantities.

5.   Portion control

It’s best to eat well-balanced meals in proportioned quantities. You can divide your meal into three parts to eat the right portion. For instance, you can split your diet into a quarter of whole grains, a quarter of protein, and half a plate of fruits and vegetables.

6.   Cut down on alcohol and smoking.

Since you’ll want to maintain your sugar levels, it’s best to reduce alcohol consumption due to the high amounts of sugar in most alcoholic drinks. Smoking exposes you to health issues like strokes and heart attacks.

If you already have diabetes, your caregiver should ensure a good management plan. At Seasons Retirement, care plans are designed to suit preferences, lifestyles, and health conditions.

Five ways to care for and manage diabetes in seniors

1.   Maintain your sugar levels

Hyperglycemia (high glucose levels) or hypoglycemia (deficient glucose levels) pose risks to your health.

Monitoring and tracking your daily insulin or sugar levels will notify you how soon you’re required to test and check your glucose. However, this may not be necessary if you treat your diabetes without insulin.

There are also several computerized diabetes devices to aid you in tracking and managing your sugar levels.

2.   Exercise

Avoid a sedentary lifestyle and find opportunities to stay active to keep the mind and body fit and focused.

Your plan should contain regular and straightforward exercises to help maintain your glucose levels.

3.   Eat healthily

Various foods have different sugar content, and since we are dealing with blood sugar levels, it’s necessary to eat healthily.

Your management plan should contain what to eat to stay fit and when and what quantity of food to consume.

4.   Follow up on your medications.

Depending on the severity of your condition, you may be given several medicines.

Ensure you follow up as prescribed to derive maximum benefit. Notify your caregiver when you feel any side effects.

5.   Check your feet

Loss of sensation in the feet has commonly been attributed to diabetes. Thus, older adults should be aware of any symptoms.

You’ll want to check your feet for discoloration, patches, infections, and so on and report your findings to your doctor.


Regularly going in for medical check-ups lets you stay updated on your health. Your management plan should be redesigned to suit the results of any check-ups as needed.

Treatment options for older adults with diabetes should be easy, safe, sustainable, and suited to a person’s lifestyle and choices.

At Seasons Retirement, your loved one is sure to find a home that prioritizes their health and nutrition, which prevents diabetes in older adults.

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