According to the National Institute on Aging, the risk for diabetes increases with age. In fact, the latest data suggests that approximately 25% of people over the age of 60, as well as those involved in companion care, are challenged with the daily maintenance of this disease.
Diabetes is a condition that a person can manage by paying careful attention to one’s own body. For some patients, medicine becomes a necessity; however, daily exercise and a regimented diet also aid in a person’s ability to regulate glucose levels. Still, as simple as that approach sounds, the fact is we don’t simply consume food to live. Eating, for many people, is a pleasurable experience. Some of our fondest memories and most enjoyable moments are associated with a table surrounded by family and friends and laden with tantalizing cuisine.
In this way, living with diabetes as one ages can feel increasingly burdensome. An individual receiving elderly care may already feel a loss of independence. To add culinary restrictions to the reduction of one’s autonomy can feel like piling on, which leads to some important questions about how one can provide a robust and flavorful diet without jeopardizing another’s health.
Common Dietary Concerns for Diabetics
Most physicians and nutritionists highlight the following constraints for those living with diabetes:
- Carefully monitor carbohydrate intake
- Focus on eating low-glycemic foods
- Reduce overall caloric intake
While this is meaningful advice, a quick review of these rules and the foods they affect can introduce a daunting challenge. In some cases, these lists consist of food we generally assume to be healthy, including some fruits and vegetables. In fact, it can appear, at first glance, that following these guidelines suggests there will be nothing left to eat.
Senior care practitioners in Indianapolis, IN understand the importance of making these dietary adjustments for those living with diabetes, but they also appreciate how severely reduced menu options and the removal of enticing flavors can be disheartening.
Fortunately, there are some creative ways for those providing elderly care to make culinary modifications for diabetics without eliminating the tastiest meals and treats.
Diabetic Menu “Hacks”
If you’re providing companion care and frequently preparing food for a person living with diabetes, consider making these subtle trades:
- In place of juice or soda, make spa water—seltzer or sparkling water with fresh fruit. Various berries are popular if you’re in a hurry, but you can also get creative with cucumbers and basil or oranges with mint leaves.
- Instead of sugar in desirable sweets, substitute other spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla extract.
- Replace white rice and bread with brown rice and whole grain options.
- Change out the snacks high in trans-fat with dehydrated veggies.
Ultimately, the goal of successful and intentional personal service agencies is to provide secure and reliable elderly care while maintaining an individual’s dignity and offering options for an enhanced life rather than constraints or limitations. This is true not only of physical mobility and a lively community, but also of one’s dietary choices.