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4 Essential Healthcare Tips for Seniors with Diabetes

by Katybeth Dee

4 Essential Healthcare Tips for Seniors with Diabetes

More than 25 percent of people 65 and older have been diagnosed with diabetes. If you are one of them, understanding your healthcare coverage can get a little confusing. When you develop type 2 diabetes, your body struggles to maintain healthy glucose levels. If not properly treated, this can lead to many life-threatening illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, neuropathy, and kidney disease. Fortunately, there are many ways to treat diabetes, possibly even reversing some of the symptoms and damage. Let’s explore six of them.

Understand What Medicare Covers

The simplest way to manage your type 2 diabetes is to ensure you are testing your blood sugar regularly, taking your medications as prescribed, and keeping your doctor’s appointments. It’s important you know what your Medicare health insurance plan covers so you don’t sacrifice the quality of care because of out-of-pocket costs. For example, Medicare part B typically covers blood sugar test strips and blood glucose monitors, but it may not cover insulin and syringes or needles. To help manage the additional costs, you may want to consider signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan, which often covers medications, vision, dental and wellness programs.

Start a Daily Exercise Program

Speaking of wellness programs, starting a regular exercise routine is one of the fastest ways to lose weight, which will help make your insulin more effective at managing your blood sugar levels. This can be accomplished by taking on low-impact cardio activities like walking, biking, hiking, or jogging. However, to really make an impact you’ll want to take a few classes and participate in wellness programs. This is where a Medicare Advantage plan might come in handy again. For example, several Advantage plans include the SilverSneakers fitness program — exercise classes just for seniors that are tailored to your specific needs.

Cook Healthier Meals

Eating less sugar and more fiber is a great start to a diet that is poised to combat diabetes. Unfortunately, Western culture cuisine often makes that difficult. Sugar, for example, is hidden in just about everything these days. Cooking at home is an easy way to sidestep the sugar that’s loaded into processed foods. If cooking isn’t your forte, consider taking an online cooking class so you can get instructions on tips and techniques for creating flavorful homemade dishes. You can also sign up for a meal delivery service that will drop boxes of ingredients on your doorstep. Many of these plans allow you to sign up for a specific program so you can be sure that your meals are healthy for seniors managing diabetes.

Join a Diabetes Support Group

 Nothing keeps you motivated quite like the support of people who, just like you, are trying to improve their lives while managing diabetes. This is especially important for seniors; not only will you have a place to share your thoughts and feelings about your health, but you’ll also make a few friends. Senior isolation is one of the leading causes of health decline for people over the age of 65, so your support group is really about more than managing your diabetes. Resisting temptation is hard — here are people who understand. Changing a whole lifetime of habits is frustrating — here are people who can help you. Talk to your doctor to see if their clinic or practice offers a diabetes support group; Medicare often covers the copays for these visits.

For many seniors, taking control of their physical and mental health is more challenging than they expected, and that’s especially true when it comes to diabetes. Explore these tips as ways to stay committed to your health and you will see and feel improvements right away.