According to the American Diabetic Association, as of 2011 there were nearly 25.8 million diabetics in the United States alone. It is a condition which can lead to amputations, kidney failure and blindness, among its more serious complications. A good knowledge of factors that can put a person at risk for the disease is important for both you and your aging loved one.
Risk Factors That Cannot Be Controlled
There are several risk factors for diabetes which, unfortunately, you and your loved one have no control over. One such risk factor is a family history of the disease. If you are African American, Hispanic or Native American, you also have an increased risk for this condition. Your risk for diabetes will also increase with age. Although you cannot change these factors, be sure to keep them in mind when talking with your parent’s doctor about the plan of care.
Risk Factors That Can Be Controlled
The good news is that there are many diabetic risk factors that can be controlled. Being overweight or obese, leading a sedentary lifestyle and having elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels all put someone at greater risk for diabetes. However, all of these conditions can be improved through weight loss, a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
If your aging loved one has any of the risk factors above, it is likely that his or her diet and activity level is poor and in these cases, it is common for there to be a lot of resistance to change. If that is the case, small and gradual shifts in lifestyle can be best. For example, making sure your parent has low-carbohydrate snacks available to replace unhealthy junk food or taking a walk with your loved one in a favorite park can be ways to help reduce the chance of developing diabetes. Also, collaborating with your parent’s physician to make sure that blood pressure and cholesterol levels are being controlled is extremely important.
If controllable risk factors for diabetes are present, then gentle, persistent lifestyle change, with lots of emotional support from you, can help keep your loved one stay happy and healthy. You may also want to consider working with a live-in caregiver in Centennial. This way, you can rest assured that your loved one is receiving balanced, healthy meals along with assistance with housekeeping, medication reminders, transportation and more.
For families who are concerned about the health of their aging mother, father or grandparent, reach out to Home Care Assistance today. We provide home care in Southeast Suburban Denver and can help create a care plan that promotes total wellness while ensuring safety and comfort. Call 303-957-3100 to speak to a Care Manager and schedule your complimentary, no-obligation consultation.