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Diabetes Tips for Seniors
Elizabeth Bemis

By: Elizabeth Bemis on January 28th, 2013

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Diabetes Tips for Seniors

assisted living  |  senior living  |  senior nutrition  |  tips for seniors  |  Aging & Caregiving

diabetes information

Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death and the number one cause of blindness in America. Often caused by obesity or being overweight, diabetes affects the body’s ability to use the sugar produced from breaking down carbohydrates. An estimated 18 million people in the United States have diabetes and the numbers keep increasing. Risk factors include being obese and overweight, age, immediate family member with diabetes, ethnic background, history of gestational diabetes, and physical inactivity.

What’s the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 1

  • An autoimmune disease that destroys the body’s ability to produce insulin, the hormone that transports sugar from the blood to the cells for energy
  • Is usually diagnosed in people under 35
  • Symptoms develop suddenly

Type 2

  • A condition in which the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells in the body do not use the insulin properly
  • 85% of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight
  • Can be controlled through diet, weight management/loss, medication, regular physical activity and stress management
  • Symptoms develop slowly
  • Accounts for 90-95 percent of all cases

Preventing Diabetes

Healthy eating, diet, weight management and regular exercise will all help prevent diabetes. Losing just 10 pounds can significantly lower disease risk. Controlling diabetes decreases your chances of suffering from disease’s real toll – kidney disease, blindness and nerve damage – by 50 to 80 percent.

Know the warning signs:

  • Excessive thirst and hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Blurred vision
  • Tingling or numbness in extremities

A blood test can catch pre-diabetic conditions and delay or even help you prevent diabetes from ever developing. See your doctor if you have the symptoms noted above.


Personal choices can dramatically affect the impact diabetes has on your quality of life. Get educated by contacting a dietitian to receive personalized diet information. Count your carbs, fill up on fiber, and strive for at least five daily servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.

6 Myths About Diabetes

Myth: People with diabetes can’t eat sugar
Fact: People with diabetes need to control how much carbohydrate they eat. All forms count, from simple sugars in sodas to complex carbohydrates in bread and pasta

Myth: People get diabetes from eating too much sugar
Fact: People tend to get Type 2 diabetes from being overweight, which occurs from eating too many calories. These excess calories come from fat, protein, carbohydrates or alcohol

Myth: All people with diabetes will get complications (heart disease, kidney failure, blindness) and die prematurely
Fact: People who control their diabetes through diet, exercise, medication and stress management can expect to live long, healthy lives.

Myth: Eating large amounts of “sugar free” or “no sugar added” foods is okay.
Fact: Many “sugar free” and “no sugar added” products contain sugar alcohols that can raise blood sugars later. Products may also have substantial amounts of carbohydrates.

Myth:  Using insulin causes complications for people with diabetes
Fact: Insulin is a tool to help control diabetes. Complications result from poor blood sugar control over an extended period of time.

Myth: High protein/low carbohydrate diets are okay for diabetes
Fact: Excessive protein can be dangerous for people with diabetes and kidney disease. Moderate protein and carbohydrate intake is key. Extreme diets can deprive you of the essential vitamins and nutrients that only fruits and vegetables can provide.

Key Takeaways

Healthy eating, diet, weight management and regular exercise will all help prevent diabetes. Contacting your doctor or dietician will help you create a plan to maintain your diet and create an exercise plan to maintain good health. Assisted and independent living communities offer several options to help you learn more and take care of diabetes as well.

Need Help?

To learn more about how United Methodist Homes helps our residents maintain their nutritional needs visit our website or contact us today!


*Information based on an education pamphlet from the Dole Nutrition Institute 

About Elizabeth Bemis

In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.