Jan 13, 2016 by Luke Ries
You’re never too old to lower your risk of diabetes — at least that’s what we learned while reading a report by the National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). The DPP research shows that simple lifestyle changes are effective deterrents for diabetes, especially among older adults.
In fact, adults over age 60 actually see greater benefit from these lifestyle changes, leading to a 71 percent effective rate in diabetes prevention — 13 percent higher than that of the general population. Since more than a quarter of Medicare-eligible adults have diabetes and half of all seniors over age 65 have pre-diabetes, improving the senior diet can be an important factor in reducing the risk of diabetes and its many complications.
If a senior is overweight, diabetes prevention may hinge on weight loss. Every pound lost can improve health, and it’s surprising by how much. Participants in one large study who lost a modest amount of weight — around 7 percent of initial body weight — and exercised regularly reduced the risk of developing diabetes by almost 60 percent.
What someone eats has a big impact on weight and overall health. Developing healthy eating habits can help manage body weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Reducing portion size, increasing the amount of fiber consumed (by eating more fruits and vegetables), and limiting fatty and salty foods are key to a healthy diet.
Here are more guidelines for eating well to help reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
As a general rule, fill half of the senior’s meal plate with fruits and vegetables, one quarter with a lean protein, such as beans, chicken or turkey without the skin, and one quarter with a whole grain, such as brown rice or whole wheat pasta.
Preventing or helping to control diabetes in seniors can be possible when proper guidelines are followed. Caregivers and families can play an important role by keeping a watchful eye on seniors to make sure they are making the right lifestyle choices when it comes to weight and diet. Making grocery lists together, assisting with food shopping, and overseeing meal preparation and food portioning are all great ways to start.
If you need extra help in making sure your senior loved one is staying on top of preventative measures, the team at Comfort Keepers® of Sheboygan & Fond du Lac is a trusted local resource—contact us today at (920) 843-5858.