As we grow older, the likelihood of developing a serious disease increases significantly. One of the most frequently diagnosed among elderly Americans is diabetes; over 25 percent of people over 60 live with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Most cases diagnosed in adulthood are type 2 diabetes, a condition which makes it difficult our bodies to convert glucose into energy. This leads to health issues including eye and kidney damage, an increased risk of strokes and heart disease, as well as nerve disorders called neuropathies which can result in a host of other conditions.
Though the effects of this disease can be debilitating, diabetes can be managed through proper medical care and education. Treatment often involves a radical change in diet and lifestyle which can be hard for seniors to work into established routines.
Learning to how to live with diabetes and manage your symptoms can seem overwhelming, but there are many resources available in Woodland Hills and throughout the San Fernando Valley to help you learn, treat, and prevent complications. Fortunately, there is a licensed San Fernando Valley home care organization that offers an excellent selection of professional in-home caregivers who can help you understand medications, make healthy diet decisions to control blood sugar levels, and integrate gentle exercise into your daily routine.
Below, we have provided five of the best programs available for seniors in the San Fernando Valley.
Mission Community Hospital San Fernando Community Diabetes Center
Offering free classes in both English and Spanish, the San Fernando Community Diabetes Center is a great resource for seniors to learn how to live with diabetes. Their comprehensive, bilingual services include patient education and preventive healthcare services. These services are available to everyone, with a focus on underserved communities and the needs of the Latino community.
Additionally, their Diabetes Teaching Kitchen has been providing services to the community since 2010. This unique facility focuses on reducing rates of diabetes in at-risk populations through nutrition education, teaching patients and caregivers how to prepare foods that are compatible with the needs of a diabetic diet. By helping your senior family member better understand the importance of low-sugar, low-carb, fresh foods, you can reduce diabetes symptoms and risk of diabetic medical complications.
Diabetes Care Patient And Family Support- Providence Holy Cross Medical Center
Providence Holy Cross Medical Center offers individualized consults focused on diabetes self-management. These one-hour sessions are tailored to the needs of each patient and provide instruction and support to seniors and their caregivers. These courses help diabetes patients manage nutrition and diet and understand how to use and interpret blood glucose meter results. Staffers help seniors and caregivers learn to self-administer medications including insulin. Additionally, people with diabetes are taught the importance of proper foot care; this is especially important for older adults as poor circulation can cause sores to heal slowly, leading to potentially severe complications. Diabetic neuropathy in feet is an often overlooked symptom that can, without care and education, lead to the loss of one or both feet and legs.
Meet Each Need with Dignity (MEND)
Volunteer-run MEND is the only free clinic in the northeast San Fernando Valley. Their Diabetes Health Education Program is available to low-income patients regardless of income, insurance, or ability to pay. In conjunction with MEND’s Perder Para Garnar Weight Management Program, San Fernando Valley residents have access to a comprehensive wellness program to help manage their disease through diet and lifestyle.
The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program
If you or your senior relative are prediabetic or at risk of developing the disease, your local YMCA offers a comprehensive Diabetes Prevention Program. Their team of health and wellness experts will help your senior relative understand symptoms and risk factors, learn how to prevent the disease by changing their diet and lifestyle, and incorporate physical activity into their routines. This 12-month program includes a four-month membership at The Y, which offers access to any Los Angeles metropolitan area YMCA facility. Though the program is not free, it is covered by most insurance plans and scholarships are available if your insurance provider will not cover the cost.
Your local YMCA also offers many fitness classes which are appropriate for seniors. The Active Older Adult program is designed for seniors 50 and up, and helps older bodies stay fit, healthy, and active. This is a fantastic way to build community while making new friends, as there is a profoundly social atmosphere in all class sessions. Aqua Fit Aerobics is a gentle, effective pool-based exercise program that can help seniors manage their weight. This course is offered at any location with a pool and has several time slots available each week.
For more information about fitness, nutrition and lifestyle programs designed for older adults and seniors living with diabetes, please contact the local YMCA.
Tarzana Medical Center Support Groups
Among the many services offered by Tarzana Medical Center, there are several support groups for those who have been diagnosed with diabetes. These groups can help patients, families, and caregivers better understand the intricacies of the disease, while offering support and coping techniques. Additionally, there is a support group for patients who use an insulin pump to manage their glucose levels, helping patients understand how to use the devices properly in a supportive, nurturing environment. These groups are free for all participants; family members and caregivers are welcome to attend.
A diagnosis of diabetes or prediabetes can be frightening, but by making use of local resources, it is a condition that is easy to manage. If you or a senior relative have been recently diagnosed, take control of the situation by learning about the disease and how to prevent complications. With a little bit of effort, adjustment and education, seniors with diabetes can live full and happy lives.