As Baby Boomers continue to age and head into their senior years, many of them are sicker than the generations that came before them. That means a higher percentage of seniors of this generation will have diabetes, as well as other age-related illnesses. On the positive side, there are new advances in caring for seniors with diabetes that should help manage the disease.
The United Health Foundation just released a new report that shows that seniors between the ages of 50 and 64 will have more health concerns over the next 14 years than seniors that came before them. In fact, for those in this age group, 55% more will have diabetes than those in that age group today. In addition, about 25% more will also be obese.
This higher rate of diabetes will hit this group hard in the pocketbook since people with diabetes pay 250% more in health care costs than those without the disease. Taxpayers will also be affected as most health care costs are absorbed by Medicare. To ward off health problems and higher health costs, the best thing this generation can do is to try to reduce their risk for diabetes before they are struck with the illness.
Stopping Diabetes Before it Starts with Mindful Eating
For most people, it’s common to snack or eat a meal in front of the TV or computer. People also tend to eat as if they are in a hurry. Mindful eating is about slowing down and paying attention to what you are eating and the signals that your body is giving you about your level of hunger. In doing so, over time, you will eat less and make better choices. This can lead to weight loss and a reduction in your A1C levels, which measure your blood sugar. .
With mindful eating, diabetic seniors can enjoy their food and eat without guilt. It takes the focus off of nutrition rules and puts the senior in the driver’s seat of their food choices and as they will know what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat, by listening to what their bodies are telling them.
Advances in Diabetes Treatment for Seniors
Perhaps one of the most frightening aspects of senior diabetes is the possibility of amputations. Too often, due to lack of circulation, older diabetics are faced with amputations of the lower extremities, but with new technologies, there is hope.
At Jackson State University in Mississippi, the senior students in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology department took this issue head on and developed a smart mat as their senior project. This smart mat actually gauges foot temperature for people who suffer from diabetes.
For individuals with diabetes, high levels of glucose in their bloodstream can lead to poor circulation in the feet and legs. This smart pad measures the temperature of both feet and determines if one is cooler than the other. This information can then be used by caregivers or doctors to deal with the issue before a foot ulcer appears. This smart mat is still in the developmental stages, but once released to the public, it could help reduce the number of amputations due to diabetes.
While there are indications that more seniors will develop diabetes, that doesn’t have to be the case. By taking control of your health and diet now, with options such as mindful eating, seniors can reduce the risk of developing the illness, and for those who are dealing with it now, with new advancement in technologies, there is also new hope for a higher quality of life.
Do you or a loved one have diabetes? Or do you have a family history of the disease? What are some of the ways you’ve worked to minimize your risk or stay healthy while dealing with diabetes? Let us know in the comments below.