Category: Diabetes

Alarm Clock

The Risks of Sleep Deprivation in the Elderly & Their Caregivers

Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as people in their 20s, but many elderly people get much less sleep than they need. Common causes of insomnia or trouble sleeping can include health issues such as the pain from arthritis, some medications, and the need for frequent urination. Sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome are also more likely in seniors. A cause we don’t often hear about is that as we age, our body’s internal clock adjusts to earlier sleep and wakeup times. If seniors stay up late, they are likely to wake up at their usual early hour, thus experiencing the side-effects of a sleep-deprived day. While sleep requirements vary slightly for each person, most healthy adults require seven to nine hours of sleep per night. How you feel in the morning is a better indication of what you need. Frequently waking up not feeling rested or feeling tired and wanting to sleep during the day are the best signs that you’re not getting enough sleep. Disturbed sleep and waking up tired are not part of normal aging. It’s important to get to the root cause of sleepless nights because not getting enough sleep carries with it several important health risks and concerns. Sleep deprivation can: Take a toll on nearly every part of your life, no matter how old or young you are. Be as dangerous for drivers as alcohol consumption, adding to the risks affecting a senior’s ability to be a safe driver. Make falls and other accidents more likely. Increase the risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other health issues. Cause depression, attention, and memory problems. Increase the risk of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, and potentially speed their progression. Research suggests that poor sleep can cause dementia and dementia can

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Drinking Water

Dehydration in the Elderly: Risks, Dangers, Detection, Prevention

As the heat of summer fades away, so might our awareness of how important it is for us and especially our elderly family members to stay hydrated. Dehydration can be difficult to detect, especially in the elderly. However, its effect on health can be dramatic and even life-threatening. Water content in the body decreases with age, especially in women. Dehydration can occur quickly. Depending on overall health, humans can’t survive more than 3-4 days without water. Although knowing the symptoms of dehydration and its damaging effects can be important, having a strategy for prevention is the most important thing for the elderly and their caregivers to focus on. Risk Factors for Elderly Dehydration At 96, my father had difficulty swallowing and easily aspirated liquids, unless they were thickened. Keeping him hydrated was a challenge. He would eat fruit and ice cream, but he refused most vegetables and soup, so he didn’t get a lot of water from his food. Swallowing disorders can be caused by aging, stroke, Parkinson’s disease or dementia. Other risk factors that heighten the chance of developing dehydration include: Not feeling thirsty Memory issues Obesity Beingbedridden Diarrhea,vomiting, excessive sweating Chronic health issues Some medications Diminished drinking due tofear of incontinence Fear of falling anytime they get up Dangers of Dehydration These and other dangerous health problems should cause us to suspect and want to prevent dehydration in the elderly: Urinary tract infections Aspirational pneumonia Severely dry skin and pressure sores Joint pain and muscle cramps Cognitive issues Kidney stones and function Low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat Seizures Early Detection Keeping an elderly person hydrated can require constant monitoring. Some of these signs may indicate dehydration and noticing them might help to prevent other conditions. See if drinking more water helps. If not, check with a doctor to determine

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Large family gather for Christmas meal

Holiday Tips for Diabetics to Bring Joy and Good Health

This season of holiday celebrations is a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends, but let’s be honest: it’s often also a time for overindulgence in less-than-healthy meals. With a wide range of fatty, rich, and sugary special treats to pick from at every turn, it’s hard to follow a nutritious diet, which can bring about serious health problems for people with diabetes. These diabetic diet guidelines, however, can help those with diabetes remain safe during the holiday season without feeling deprived of special treats. Make sure to consult with a physician for his or her approval on any meal choices that stray from an approved nutrition plan, and then try these holiday tips for diabetics: Determine your top picks. Consider choices during a holiday meal, and select your favorite two carbs to enjoy. For example, figure out if you’d prefer to have dressing or bread, or choose between sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes, as opposed to indulging in all of the food choices. Provide your own. When attending a holiday get-together at someone’s house, check with the host concerning accommodation of your dietary restrictions so you know what to expect, and offer to bring a healthy dish to share, such as a tray of vegetables and fruits or a sugarless dessert. Have a snack first. Enjoying a healthy snack in advance of the holiday meal will help keep blood sugar levels consistent and aid in reducing the urge to go overboard. Healthy snack options for individuals with diabetes include nuts, veggies with hummus, celery and peanut butter, cottage or string cheese, or an egg. Stay hydrated. Drinking a glass of water before sitting down to the meal will help give a sense of fullness, reducing the chance that you’ll be tempted to overindulge.  Remain physically active. After

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diabetes management

Tips for Effective Management of Stress and Diabetes

From sunup to sundown, every day in the life of those with diabetes is loaded with a number of tasks to control the disease. Between medicines, insulin needles, monitoring blood sugar levels, physical exercise, and handling nutritional requirements, it’s common for people to have to manage stress and diabetes at the same time. Dakota Home Care understands the obstacles and struggles of diabetes care management, and share the following ideas to help manage stress and diabetes to remain in ideal health: Remember, none of us is perfect. Effective diabetes care doesn’t require being perfect with care every single day. It is common for some days to be better than other days and it is crucial to be forgiving of the occasional glucose fluctuation, creating opportunities to make note of lessons learned for better management in the future. Recognize care barriers. Barriers to diabetic care management can include: Requiring additional information/education on how to best provide diabetes care Avoiding situations that could affect the necessary care schedule Excuses to eliminate about getting adequate exercise Eating habits that might be influenced more by emotions than hunger Depression or other mental health concerns Remain upbeat. Throughout all obstacles, a positive mindset can go a long way. Rather than thinking, “I’ll never be able to manage my diabetes—I might as well resolve myself to always having health problems,” try thinking instead, “I didn’t pay enough attention to my portion sizes at breakfast; that’s why my blood sugar is too high. I am going to plan in advance and keep food portions in line with my meal plan or cover with extra insulin if I eat more than I meant to.” Accept help. Friends, family members, and coworkers often provide a caring shoulder to lean on. It can be helpful to advise them what is

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