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Families Are Encouraged to Motivate Diabetic Seniors

Diabetes affects 24 million Americans. It’s a major health concern and mounting problem for the country as a whole – especially for the rapidly expanding senior population.  Senior Helpers, a provider of senior in-home care services, is asking families to think about ways to reduce the impact of the disease on older people.

“The population as a whole is aging and the number of seniors dealing with diabetes continues to climb,” says Kevin Herman, president of Senior Helpers in Havertown, Pa. “The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases dramatically with age. It’s important for seniors and their families to realize that there are ways to reduce the potential impact of diabetes on quality of life.”

Consider these facts about seniors and diabetes:

• More than 23% of Americans age 60 and older have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
• An estimated 50% of adult-onset diabetes (type 2) occurs in individuals over 55 years of age.
• Seniors are far more likely to have complicating conditions stemming from diabetes, including kidney problems, blindness, heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.
• The total spending for diabetes in the U.s. for direct and indirect medical costs is estimated at more than $200 billion a year.

Research has repeatedly shown that physical activity is one of the best ways for seniors to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes and complications from the disease in those already diagnosed. As people get older, exercise becomes even more important in keeping the body healthy and able to fight debilitating diseases like diabetes. For seniors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise at moderate intensity five or more times per week.

Benefits of exercise for seniors fighting diabetes include these:

• Improves the body’s use of insulin
• Burns excess body fat, helping to decrease and control body weight
• Increases blood flow to reduce risk of related heart disease
• Keeps heart and blood vessels healthy by lowering “bad” (LDL) cholesterol

“Families should consider diabetes as it relates to care and arrangements for elderly loved ones,” Herman says. “Small things like making sure transportation is available, encouraging exercise and preventing isolation can really make all the difference. Professional caregivers can help by providing these services and motivating seniors to remain physically active, healthy, and sustain a high quality of life.”

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