Lifestyle and Type 2 Diabetes Management for a Resident of Assisted Living

If you are an older individual with diabetes considering moving into assisted living, you likely have a number of questions. The same holds true if you are an adult child with a diabetic parent considering moving into hospice. Through this article, we discuss the importance of lifestyle choices in treating diabetes while living in an assisted living community. 

Assisted Living Does Accept Residents With Diabetes

Before considering a diabetes friendly lifestyle while living in an assisted living community, you do need to know that assisted living communities have the legal ability to accept diabetic people into their facilities. California law permits an assisted living community to accept residents with diabetes provided an individual is capable of undertaking self-care. What this means is that the resident needs to be able to glucose test and administer his or her medication on his or her own.

Healthy Diet and Type 2 Diabetes Management for a Resident in Assisted Living

The most important lifestyle factor associated with effective Type 2 diabetes management is eating a healthy, nutritious diet. Before looking at the specific attributes of such a diet, it is important to note that virtually any assisted living community will be able to provide a diabetic friendly diet plan. The reality is that a healthy diet for a person with Type 2 diabetes is an ideal diet for anyone.

When it comes to a healthy diet for diabetes management, a number of factors come into play. First, counting carbohydrates is fundamental to diabetes management. Carbs have the most significant impact on blood sugar or glucose levels. While your diet needs to include carbs, you need to pay attention to the percentage of carbs that are included in any meal (or snack). If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, your physician (or a nutritionist) can advise on the percentage of carbs that you should include in your diet. (This does vary from one person to another.)

Second, a healthy diet for diabetes management needs to focus on portion size. Many, if not most, people in the United States in this day and age are eating portions that are larger than necessary. At an assisted living community, care is taken to prepare meals that include an appropriate portion size for residents with diabetes. 

Third, every effort should be made to ensure that each meal is well balanced. This includes ensuring a good mix of proteins, healthier fats, vegetables, fruits, and starches. Yes, carbs can be part of a well-balanced meal. But carbs from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are better for a person with Type 2 diabetes (indeed, better for anyone) because their fiber content helps to keep glucose or blood sugar levels in a better balance. Assisted living communities are adept are preparing well-balanced meals for all residents and can provide options that are more focused on the needs of residents diagnosed with diabetes. 

Fourth, coordination of medications and meals is important. This particularly is the case if an individual requires insulin as part of his or her diabetes management. Coordination of meds and meals is another area in which staff at an assisted living community are particularly adept.

Finally, according to the Mayo Clinic, a healthy diet as part of diabetes management should avoid sugar-sweetened beverages, including sodas, many juices, and sports drinks. These types of beverages cause glucose or blood sugar levels to rise or spike too quickly. One exception exists. These types of drinks can be used as an effective remedy when a person’s blood sugar has dropped too low and needs to raise promptly. 

Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes Management for a Resident in Assisted Living

Another component of a healthy lifestyle for a person with Type 2 diabetes living in assisted living is exercise. When you exercise, your body uses glucose or blood sugar for energy. Exercise also aids your body in using insulin more efficiently as well. 

Before embarking on a fitness regimen, you need to consult your primary care physician. Your doctor can determine what level of exercise is more appropriate, safe, and healthy for you.

As a general rules, most adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or exercise each week. An ideal goal is to shoot for 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise most days of the week. In addition to aerobic exercise, a person also benefits from strength building and stretching exercise as well. 

A person with Type 2 diabetes is wise to develop weekly exercise schedule and stick to it. A resident of assisted living should take advantage of fitness programming that likely will be available through the community. 

A few important reminders about exercise as part of diabetes management:

  • Always have a small snack or glucose tablet available during exercise in the event that your glucose or blood sugar level drops too low.
  • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water while exercising. Dehydration does impact your glucose or blood sugar levels.
  • Finally, wear a medical identification bracelet advising you have diabetes. 

In the final analysis, residing in an assisted living community can be a positive course to assist you in maintaining a healthy lifestyle as part of your overall diabetes management. There are many other benefits to life in an assisted living community as well.