Managing Diabetes During the Hectic Holiday Season
The holidays are a time for family gatherings and festive celebrations, many of which come with fabulous foods and alcoholic drinks. On top of that is the frantic pace of the season. Exercise often falls victim to a busy schedule. This can all add up to challenging days for adults with type 2 diabetes who are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
But with some thoughtful planning, it’s possible to enjoy the season without sacrificing your health.
Managing Diabetes during the Rush of the Holidays
Here are a few ideas to help you or a senior loved one manage diabetes during the holidays:
1. Plan Meals around Events
Holiday celebrations are full of great-tasting food that usually isn’t very healthy. It can be tempting to ditch your diet and indulge. But for someone with diabetes, that can be dangerous.
Instead, take a few minutes every evening to plan meals for the next day. You can also work in pre-party snacks that will help you fill up so you aren’t overly tempted by unhealthy treats at holiday events.
If you or your older family member will be attending a luncheon where food choices might be fairly unhealthy, for example, plan the rest of the day’s meals around it. Or, if the party will be at a restaurant, visit their website ahead of time to review the menu. This will help you determine the most diabetes-friendly option for you to order.
2. Schedule Reminders
The season’s festivities have a way of getting many of us off of our regular schedules. Nutrition experts remind people with diabetes how important it is to stick to a strict medication schedule.
Because many of the symptoms of a diabetic emergency are silent ones, a senior might not recognize they are getting into trouble until it’s too late. During the hustle and bustle of the season, take extra steps to adhere to your medication schedule. This might mean writing notes to yourself or setting an alarm on your cell phone.
The same holds true for testing your blood glucose levels. Don’t allow yourself to neglect this task because you are too busy enjoying the holidays. In fact, it is especially important if you have been indulging in treats and neglecting to exercise.
It’s also a good idea to order prescription refills ahead of time. Physicians and their staff may be taking holiday vacations, making them unavailable to approve or process refills as quickly as usual. The same holds true for pharmacies, which may be closed or have limited hours on holidays.
3. Alcohol in Moderation
The American Diabetes Association says that seniors who have their diabetes under control should speak with their physician about enjoying an alcoholic beverage or two during holiday gatherings. As your physician will likely advise, however, it’s never a good idea for a diabetic to drink alcohol on an empty stomach or when blood glucose levels are low. Also, opt for light beer or a wine spritzer. Both can help limit alcohol intake while reducing calorie consumption.
4. Holiday Travel
If you will be away from home over the holidays, remember to plan accordingly.
The American Diabetes Association suggests taking at least double the amount of medication and testing supplies you need for the length of time you will be gone. Place half of them in a carry-on bag that you have easy access to during your journey. Then, pack the additional stash in a second suitcase. If one of your bags is lost during travel, you will still have the back-up supply.
It’s also smart to ask your physician for a written order for your medicine to have on hand while you travel. If something unforeseen happens, you can go to a local pharmacy to have your prescription filled.
With a bit of planning, seniors with diabetes can enjoy holiday events surrounded by family and friends.
Diabetes Management at Sunrise Senior Living
We know that a proactive approach to type 2 diabetes education and management is important for older adults. From free blood screenings to prevention classes, our communities have a history of helping to raise awareness about this disease that affects as much as 27 percent of older adults.
Our healthy dining options and in-house wellness programs make it easier for residents of Sunrise Senior Living to manage their diabetes. Schedule a private visit at the community nearest you to learn more!