Both average life expectancy and the prevalence of diabetes are continuing to rise.
For seniors, type 2 diabetes is a growing problem, and a larger proportion of newly diagnosed diabetics are older in age. Treating and diagnosing diabetes amongst the elderly can be a challenge. Since April is National Defeat Diabetes Month, let’s look at how this impacts seniors specifically.
So, what are some differences in diagnosing diabetes among the elderly when compared to diabetes in the young?
1. Elderly people who are at risk of developing diabetes, or who have already developed the disease, may not exhibit the classic symptoms expected.
2. Age-related changes can mean that some symptoms will be masked, or harder to spot.
All diabetes complications can occur amongst older patients. Cognitive complications are more common amongst the elderly. Further problems may include pre-existing or co-existing health problems. Many elderly diabetic patients are pre-disposed to hypoglycemia. Understanding diabetes is an important step. Education, of both the patient and caregiver, can be important in recognizing warning signs before a crisis occurs.
According to the American Diabetes Association, “Diabetes is a common disease, yet every individual needs unique care. We encourage people with diabetes and their families to learn as much as possible about the latest medical therapies and approaches, as well as healthy lifestyle choices. Good communication with a team of experts can help you feel in control and respond to changing needs.” It is important to have regular checkups with your primary care physician and communicate any concerns. Dealing with diabetes will be so much easier when you have a team approach.
Ah yes, we are now possibly tearing open the wrappers of many a piece of candy and finishing off those sugary treats as we enter November and the month of the Thanksgiving Feast! Perhaps that is why November is considered National Diabetes Month. This observance was created so individuals, health care professionals, organizations, and communities across the country can bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans. The American Diabetes Association reports that “half of all Americans age 65 or older have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. An estimated 11.2 million (nearly 26 percent) Americans over age 65 have already been diagnosed with diabetes, a figure that will continue to increase if we do not act to prevent diabetes in this population.”
There are many things the “experts” tell us to do to get to and stay at a healthy weight and prevent type 2 diabetes: Choose healthy foods, make healthy meals, be active 30 minutes a day. But where should you start? It’s can be overwhelming. And it can be even harder if you have a lot of changes you want to make.
It’s easier to make lifestyle changes one step at a time. Think of each small step as one piece of your effort to change your habits. Making changes one step at a time gives you the best chance to reach and stay at a healthy weight and prevent type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that making just a few small changes can make a big impact on your weight and health. Learn how to make these changes step-by-step.
Things that you want to consider are:
Weight: Staying at a healthy weight can help you prevent and manage problems like prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease, high blood pressure, and unhealthy cholesterol.
Diet:Always ask your healthcare provider about healthy eating plans and what you can and can’t have in your diet. Each person is different and industry standards have changed.
You may want to check with your health care provider or dentist if you find chewing difficult, don’t want to eat, or have trouble with your dentures.
You feel that life events such as the death of a loved one or moving from your home are keeping you from eating well.
You think your medicines may be making your food taste bad or affecting your appetite.
You think you should take a daily vitamin like iron or vitamin C.
Exercise: Physical activity can do a lot for your health, even if you haven’t been very active lately. Take a walk, do chair aerobics, just get up and move if you can! As with all health changes, discuss your exercise plan with your primary care physician.
Today we are honoring Gardens of Clanton resident Lucille Mims. Mrs. Lucille is 94 years old and thoroughly enjoys being a resident at our Clanton community. Most folks when they think of Clanton, immediately think of peaches. Clanton is famous for their delicious peaches and their water tower in the shape of a peach. August is National Peach Month and in honor of Mrs. Lucille Mims, the Gardens of Clanton and the delicious fruit…we are sharing a delicious recipe for Peach Cobbler. We hope you all enjoy this delicious taste of summer!
Peach Cobbler Recipe
8 fresh peaches – peeled, pitted and sliced into thin wedges
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
In a large bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and cornstarch.
Toss to coat evenly, and pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.
Remove peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Sprinkle entire cobbler with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.
Pictured is Mrs. Mims and her loving granddaughter
This week we shared some delicious fresh strawberries from our local folks at Backyard Orchards. They were absolutely divine! Not only were they tasty…they were delivered right to our door from one of the owners! Talk about sweet! And since National Pick Strawberries Day is coming up on May 20th, I decided to share some health benefits and a strawberry dessert recipe from one of our residents.
Now I have been obsessed with strawberries since my days as a young girl in the 80s playing with my Strawberry Shortcake dolls. (Yes, I may be giving away my age.) But I had no idea how good they are for you! According to organicfacts.net, strawberries have many nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that contribute to overall health. These include folate, potassium, dietary fiber and magnesium. They have 150% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C in a single serving! Together, these components are responsible for the overwhelming health benefits of strawberries. Here are 6 of the Top Health Benefits of the Strawberry
They boost your immune system. Want to stay well and fight off sickness? Eat a healthy diet, rich in this healthy fruit.
They reduce the risk of eye related ailments. Strawberries are helpful because of the potassium they contain that helps our eyes maintain the right pressure.
Strawberries have even been shown to help maintain normal blood pressures!
They lower the risk of arthritis, gout and cancer.
Strawberries have been shown to help regulate proper functioning of the nervous system.
They also can help prevent heart diseases and reduce cholesterol.
Those are all wonderful reasons to eat strawberries! And if you are like me and are drawn to desserts with the delicious fruit…here is a link to our website with a finger licking favorite that is perfect to feature your fresh strawberries and just screams summertime.
Gardens of Daphne resident Shirley Hartley loves sharing her baking skills. She has her very own recipe book called “Squirrelly Shirley Cookbook Specials” that has sold over 300 copies. Here is one of her strawberry favorite recipes that she wanted to share!
Mother’s Strawberry Cake
1 box white cake mix
1 small box strawberry Jello
1 cup oil
1/2 cup of milk
1 cup of frozen strawberries, thawed (do not drain)
1 cup chopped pecans
Mix first 4 ingredients. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Add strawberries and pecans. Pour in greased and floured pans and bake at 350 degrees ( 9″X13″ pan for 40 minutes) or (Two 9″ pans for 20-25 minutes)
1 stick of butter, softened
4 cups of confectioners sugar
Combine until smooth-Add 1 cup of strawberries thawed and drained and 1/2 cup chopped pecans
While strumming his guitar my Dad once told me that when it came to singing or playing an instrument that you must use it or lose it. That’s crazy I thought. I mean if you have an ability, you have an ability… right? WRONG! Try singing after not having done it in a few years and you might be shocked at the quality or tone that you produce. It’s not pretty, trust me. Just in the way that you must utilize a talent to keep it going, you also must work your brain to keep it healthy.
According to John E. Morley, MD, director of St. Louis University’s Division of Geriatric Medicine and author of The Science of Staying Young, “simple games like Sudoku and word games are good, as well as comic strips where you find things that are different from one picture to the next,”In addition to word games, there are other brain stimulating activities.
Socialization to improve the brain situation! According to the Alzheimer’s Association, studies show that seniors who regularly participate in social interactions can retain their brain health. So keep connected with others. For those friends and family that live far away, correspondence by e-mail or social media or even writing letters can keep you connected. Don’t stay holed up in your house alone. This is not healthy for you on multiple levels including your brain.
Keep Moving! A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that, among seniors, “moderate physical activity is associated with a reduced incidence of cognitive impairment after 2 years.” Simply taking a walk or doing chair exercise is a great way to get that heart pumping and keep the blood flowing to the brain.
Lay Your Cards on the Table Playing games with others is another way to maintain and increase brain health. Regularly playing board or card games, or engaging in other intellectually stimulating games with others helps keep your mind active.
The vitality of your brain is the superhighway to your overall health. There are also many brain healthy foods that physicians recommend. Check out the following list from healthable.org for a list of Foods to Keep Your Brain Fit!
So, what kind of person are you? Are you the Grinch at Christmas or are you more like Buddy the Elf? Hopefully you are somewhere in between. The holidays are not all lights, baking and singing Christmas carols for everyone. This especially holds true for some seniors. The songs that stir the hearts of many during the season can evoke feelings of sadness for others. But the best thing to do is not to allow the blues to get the best of you during the holidays or anytime for that matter. Here are some tips to help you or a loved one cope and avoid a “blue” Christmas.
Stay Active! Exercise is not only good for the heart it is also excellent for the mind. By doing reasonable exercise based on your doctor’s recommendations and your ability, you can keep the blood pumping. It also improves our metabolic rate and increases the production of endorphins which are those natural mood lifters in the brain.
Makeover your Mood! Studies show that the simple act of getting a haircut or even a hot shave makes you feel better! Don’t discount the benefits of a nice pedicure too. Feeling better about yourself will help make your spirits improve.
Eat Better! Now while the holidays offer many opportunities for sweet treats that we may only have once a year, it’s best not to indulge. While these goodies typically show their havoc on waistlines, they have also been proven to derail our moods and cause depression as well. So, don’t wait until the New Year to practice better eating. Everything in moderation and stick to a well-balanced diet.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that “some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and may feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up.” So, this is not something to minimize. If you feel that your loved one may need more professional help. Don’t delay and don’t minimize the situation. Reach out and show love. If they are living alone, consider a move to assisted living or to a situation that will help stimulate them socially. Be sure to keep them engaged. Remember the way we feel mentally has a huge impact on our health physically.
I guess it never really dawned on me until I starting working in the senior living industry that just as our hearing and eyesight are impacted as we age…so are our taste buds. SERIOUSLY!! Those go away?? Well, that is just fabulous, right? Now don’t go thinking all is lost! But believe me when I say that there is a GREAT DEAL of time and energy that is spent in planning meals for Assisted Living Communities. And what is on the plate is not what you would expect! We are not talking cafeteria style boredom. Sure it may be difficult to appeal to a crowd of differing tastes and disappearing taste buds. It can be a tall order! But we have more than one approach to take on the task. While bearing in mind that Assisted Living residents are given a type of diet that their physician suggests…but remembering that the resident is the captain of their own ship. They have resident rights to direct their care and this includes their nutrition. Our job is to do our novel best to offer food to meet their dietary needs. It is also helpful to know that ALF communities have regulations in place that cover food from everything from receiving and storing to cooking and serving. By following these best practices, we can offer safe, delicious and nutritious meals. Here are some ways we aim to please.
Always Available Menus. So today is Taco Tuesday and Mexican food doesn’t agree with you? No problem! In our communities, we offer Always Available Menus that will give you options that are designed to please. With a little head’s up, the dietary staff can make sure that your mealtime doesn’t go South of the border.
Menus that change with the Season. Guided by our Dietitian Consultant, we create menu suggestions that offer variety and nutrition to attempt to appeal to any palate.
Another approach that we have incorporated is resident suggestion! Got a great recipe for your favorite dessert? Then we want to hear about it! We will do our best to submit it for approval to add to our menu. From the beginning intake process, we do our best to find out what you like and what you don’t like when it comes to food. No two tastes will be the same. But by treating everyone as an individual, it helps set the situation up for success.