Approximately 12 million Americans 65 and older have diabetes, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even if your older loved one isn’t diabetic, he or she may be considered prediabetic or be more likely to develop this condition if he or she has consistently high blood sugar levels. For this reason, we’re going to focus on blood sugar levels for seniors and discuss what’s considered normal and what can be done to maintain healthy levels.
What’s Considered Normal for Older Adults?
According to the American Diabetes Association, target blood sugar levels should be individualized, meaning based on what’s appropriate given your loved one’s overall health. However, there are some general recommendations for seniors when it comes to blood sugar (glucose) levels.
Older adults are advised to maintain a blood sugar level below 100 mg/dL when levels are reviewed after not eating for at least eight hours. This is most likely to be the case if you check your loved one’s blood sugar numbers when he or she first gets up or after he or she has been told to fast by the doctor. If levels are checked after your loved one has eaten, “normal” is considered less than 140 mg/dL. This is also the number you should be looking for up to 2 hours after your loved one last ate, according to WebMD.
If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a McKinney home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.
How Do Blood Sugar Levels Affect Brain Health?
Researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center published results from a study funded by the American Diabetes Association and the National Institute on Aging suggesting it’s important for older adults to maintain optimal blood sugar levels to minimize age-related cognitive decline. The study found that elevated glucose numbers could be partially responsible for memory lapses and other cognitive issues in older adults.
Even if diabetes isn’t part of the equation, blood sugar levels tend to naturally increase with age. The study’s authors determined that regular physical exercise is an effective way for older adults to counteract age-related blood sugar spikes. This determination was made by finding a correlation between reduced physical activity and higher blood sugar levels from images taken from the parts of the brain associated with cognitive functions.
Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elder care. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
What Causes Blood Sugar Levels to Rise in Seniors?
High blood sugar is referred to as hyperglycemia. In addition to age-related changes, it could be caused by undiagnosed or improperly managed diabetes, or even certain medications. Excess weight, poor eating habits, and lack of regular exercise are additional contributing factors. Seniors with consistently high blood sugar levels may experience:
• Confusion and disorientation
• Shortness of breath
• Dehydration or frequent dry mouth
• An elevated heart rate
How Can Older Adults Maintain Normal Glucose Levels?
If your loved one has been diagnosed as being diabetic, help him or her control the condition by encouraging him or her to follow the doctor’s advice. Also, make sure your loved one is checking his or her blood sugar levels daily as recommended. Newer glucose monitors conveniently track results digitally so stats can be saved and shared with your loved one’s doctor. Even if your loved one isn’t diabetic, he or she can still maintain healthy blood sugar levels by:
• Getting regular exercise
• Eating a balanced, nutritious diet
• Paying attention to signs suggesting his or her blood sugar levels may be too high
Helping a loved one maintain healthy blood sugar levels and prevent or manage diabetes can be challenging. In McKinney, respite care is a great help to many families. Caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times, which puts family caregivers at risk for burnout. However, an in-home caregiver can take over your loved one’s care, allowing you the time you need to focus on your own health, maintain a full-time job, or care for other members of your family. Call Home Care Assistance today at (972) 548-0392 to find out how we can best assist your family.