17 Creative Ways to Care for Diabetes

When most people think about how to care for diabetes, the words “creative” or “easy” probably don’t come to mind. It’s time to change that.

In this article, we go beyond the typical advice of “eat better!” and “check your blood sugar!” to offer super-specific tips on how to manage your own diabetes and/or how to care for a diabetic loved one. From free therapeutic shoes to hacks for remembering medications,  here are 17 super-helpful ways to keep diabetes under control.

  1. Do some meal preparation. Healthy eating is critical to diabetes management. Save time and make the diet shift easier by setting aside a few hours each week to prepare food for the coming days.
  2. Go to the Farmer’s Market. People with diabetes should eat lots of fruits and vegetables. What better place to find these items than your local market? Shopping at a local Market can get you on your feet and put fresh produce in your fridge. Win-win! For tips on what to get (and what to avoid) at the Farmer’s Market tips, this article offers some great pointers.
  3. Use free resources to educate yourself on sugars and carbohydrates. The best way to do this is through Medicare-covered Diabetes self-management training. You can also find fact sheets on these topics by reading our article on the Best Free Resources for People with Diabetes.
  4. Create a system for recording blood sugar (glucose) readings. Whether you use an app on your phone, enjoy the convenience of a Continuous Glucose Monitor, or simply keep a written log, make sure you have a way to share recent numbers with your family doctor.
  5. Organize medications by day. When you keep all your medications in the large generic containers used by most pharmacies,
    daily weekly pill box diabetes medications

    it can be difficult to remember whether you took your pills for the day. Make it easier by purchasing a day-by-day pillbox at the local pharmacy or dollar store.


  6. Set a reminder to take medications using an alarm or a smart pillbox. Missing medications can be a big risk to your health. Using an alarm or Smart Pillbox is a good way to make sure you stay on track with your medical plan.
  7. Wear diabetic shoes. If you have diabetes, you are
    at higher risk for foot complications and infections. That’s why Medicare covers one pair of diabetic shoes and three pairs of therapeutic inserts for people with diabetes and foot complications each year. Want to find great shoes that are covered by Medicare? Click here or on the image below to order your FREE color catalog
  8. Check your feet for cuts, blisters, red marks, swelling and other issues each day. Diabetic neuropathy may prevent you from feeling foot injuries, so take some time each day to look over your feet. If you can’t bend over to take a look, have someone else inspect your feet for you. Make an appointment with your podiatrist if something is amiss.
  9. Keep medications close to the kitchen to coordinate mealtime with medication time.  Many diabetes medications should be taken on a full stomach, so it’s a good idea to keep your pills on hand after lunch and dinner. It’s a good idea to create a healthy routine of eating good meals and taking medications around the same time each day.
  10. Prepare for special occasions and celebrations involving food. That Fourth of July BBQ won’t negatively impact your health if you show up with some sugar-smart alternatives!
  11. Go to the optometrist once per year (make sure you are also tested for glaucoma!). Medicare covers one eye exam and glaucoma test for adults with diabetes each year. Booking a regular appointment is a must to protect your sight from diabetes complications.
  12. Stay hydrated with water, not sugary drinks. Much of the sugar we consume each day is in the form of beverages, including soda, juice, and alcohol. Drinking lots of water will reduce your cravings for these items, helping you to manage your health.
  13. Get regular exercise, even if it’s just a walk each day.  Regular exercise is an important part of most treatment plans, but it doesn’t have be complex! Make walking around town or on a nearby trail a regular part of your day, or find an exercise class that you really enjoy. Working this into your normal schedule is a great way to support your health!
  14. Communicate openly with your doctor. Many health concerns that may seem “small” or unimportant, like blurry vision or a foot blister, can be a much bigger deal when combined with diabetes. It’s best to tell your doctor everything you can about your health – open communication can save your life.
  15. Store insulin properly. Insulin is an important part of most treatment plans, but failing to store it properly can render it useless. Make sure insulin is kept in a temperature controlled area and that it is not used after its expiry date.
  16. Set a reminder to brush and floss your teeth twice each day. People with diabetes are more likely to get infections in their teeth and gums. Care for the health of your mouth with regular brushing and flossing. A visit to the dentist is also a good idea.
  17. Take up a relaxing hobby and lower your stress levels. Diabetes and stress is a bad combination for your blood pressure and heart health.  Take time to garden, read a book, listen to relaxing music – whatever you enjoy most! This will help you to relax and keep your stress levels under control.

Where to Get Fitted for Diabetic Shoes

The online marketplace is buzzing with websites where you can buy diabetic shoes at the click of a button. This may seem like a convenient option, but if you’re not careful you could miss a critical step: Getting your diabetic shoe fitting from a certified and Medicare-approved shoe fitter.

Many people are surprised to learn that feet can change size from one year to the next. While all diabetic shoe brands available on nocostshoes.com are Medicare approved, picking the right one for you may require some professional help.

Why do you need to get professionally fitted for your diabetic shoes?

There are a few reasons to involve a foot care professional in selecting your diabetic shoes.

  • Medicare and insurance often require a professional fit. After all, no insurer wants to pay for shoes that hurt more than they help!
  • Improperly fitting shoes can exaserbate foot problems. When you have diabetes, even the smallest blister can turn into a life-altering ulcer. The impact of this should not be underestimated.
  • Shoe fittings are covered anyways, so why not? If you are eligible for coverage, Medicare will cover the furnishing and fitting of one pair of therepeutic shoes and three sets of inserts per year.

What is a licensed shoe fitter, exactly?

One common misconception is that a “shoe fitter” is anyone with a measuring tape who works in a shoe store. In reality, fitting people for therepeutic shoes requires a bit more expertise.

The American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics, Inc (ABC) is the body that trains and certifies shoe fitters in the United States. Your insurance may require that someone with the certification “ABC Certified Fitter-Therapeutic Shoes (ABC CFts)” or an equivilant background confirm your shoe size before you order shoes.

Now we come to the most pressing question – where in the world can you find these very specific professionals?

Option #1 – Get a Medicare approved in-home shoe fitting.

For most people, the most convenient option is to arrange for an in-home shoe fitting. Medicare-approved shoe supplier Quantum Medical Supply offers fittings from certified professionals who come right to you. In-home shoe fitters can also help you to select and order shoes from approved suppliers, directly billing Medicare or insurance for cost.

To arrange for your fitting, check your eligibility at nocostshoes.com or call 1-866-923-2423.

Option #2 – Visit your Podiatrist’s office.

Podiatrists and their assistants are able to provide shoe fitting services as needed. If you are regularly seeing one of the below professionals, consider asking them about shoe fitting at your next appointment:dr with xray feet back joints why to wear orthotics

  • A podiatrist
  • An orthotist
  • A prosthetist
  • A pedorthist

If your doctor does not supply shoes directly, they may offer you a recommendation for where to purchase shoes. Having your feet measured by someone connected with the supplier is a good idea, even if your podiatrist has already taken a look. This will help you account for any differences between brands and give you an opportunity to select shoes that are comfortable for you.

Option #3 – Check with your pharmacy.

As of 2012, 25 percent of ABC Certified Fitter-Therapeutic Shoes (ABC CFts) worked in a pharmacy setting. Your pharmacy may have someone on staff with the right designation, or they may be able to refer you to a professional nearby. Pharmacies are also a good source for some types of therapeutic inserts.

Making Sure Your Shoe Fitting is Covered by Medicare

You should always confirm the credentials of your shoe fitter to ensure their services will be covered under your health care plan. The best option is to use someone who can directly bill your insurance or Medicare. This lowers your risk and confirms that they are approved to provide this service.

Finding the right pair of shoes is important, so don’t be afraid to ask for help throughout this process! You can reach out to the a diabetic shoe supplier such as nocostshoes.com, speak with your podiatrist, or contact Medicare directly to confirm the details you may need.

Just 2 weeks of inactivity can trigger Type 2 Diabetes, study finds

Does staying active matter when it comes to preventing type 2 diabetes? According to recent research, the answer is a resounding YES – in fact, movement might be even more critical for prediabetics than previously thought.

The new study measured the impact of 2 weeks of inactivity had on older adults with prediabetes. Here is what they found in people who were inactive for two weeks:

  • Their skeletal muscle mass and strength significantly decreased;
  • They started showing insulin resistance, a sign of type 2 diabetes;
  • The damage appeared to be permanent – after going back to a more active lifestyle, participants did not return to the way they were beforehand.

The last point is particularly interesting. It suggests that it may be impossible for some seniors to return to a healthy state following a period of inactivity.

What considered a dangerous level of “inactivity” for prediabetics?

woman senior home alone inactiveIn this study, “inactivity” was defined as less than 1,000 steps per day. This reflects the activity level of a person classified as “homebound”. According to other studies, 39 percent of homebound seniors have diabetes compared to 11.4 percent of their more active and social counterparts.

Previous research has shown that healthy older adults walk between 2,000 and 9,000 steps per day. The average number of steps for a person of any age in the United States is 4,774.

How to manage diabetes and prediabetes with exercise

When people talk about managing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, diet is typically the first thing that comes up. There is no doubt that diet is a crucial risk factor for type 2 diabetes, but this study shows that we may have been underestimating the importance of physical activity. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re moving enough each day:

  • Keep it simple. You don’t need a fancy gym membership or an extensive exercise regimen to move more each day. Go for a daily walk, play with grandchildren, or do some yard work to keep active. While fitness classes and treadmills are great for filling in the gaps and staying active during bad weather, you don’t need to change your life dramatically in order to move enough each day.
  • Talk to your doctor about your exercise plan. Going from no activity to an intensive exercise program can hurt your body instead of helping it. Discussing your lifestyle with a doctor will help you stay conscious of your blood pressure, heart rate and the sensitivity of joints and muscles.
  • Stay motivated. Pedometers or “step counters” are great ways to track your progress and motivate yourself.
  • Make it social. 30 million Americans have diabetes and 84 million have prediabetes, so chances are you can find a neighbor, family member or friend who could also benefit from physical activity. You can also attend group workouts or find local walking and hiking groups to join.
  • Stay hydrated and watch your blood sugar. Don’t neglect other aspects of your health, like hydration and diet! Bringing a water bottle and light, diabetes-friendly snack on your walks.

exercise tips for diabetes infographic

Protecting your feet as you exercise

Those who do have diabetes should also consider the health of their feet when taking on an exercise plan. Due to circulation issues and neuropathy, even a small blister can have serious long-term consequences for people with diabetes. For this reason, Medicare covers one pair of diabetic shoes and two pairs of therapeutic inserts per year for people who have diabetes and foot issues.

If you are receiving Medicare or other insurance support for type 2 diabetes and would like more information about diabetic shoe coverage, our team at nocostshoes.com would love to help you out! Click here to order our catalog or call us at 1-866-923-2423 for more information.

The Best Free Resources for Americans with Diabetes

Getting diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes can be overwhelming. Many people find themselves scrambling to find information and support without breaking the bank.

Luckily, there are tons of FREE resources available to help people understand and manage their diagnosis. From Medicare-covered devices to meal planning tools to educational pamphlets, there are many organizations dedicated to connecting you with resources at absolutely no cost.

To make it easier to navigate the many wonderful organizations offering freebies for people with diabetes, we’ve created this master list of FREE diabetes resources from across the country (and the internet). Let’s get started!

How to Access Free Products and Services (Covered by Medicare, Insurance, or Other Programs)

To find an accredited Diabetes Education Program, visit the “Find a Program” Page on the American Association of Diabetes Educators website.

To get diabetic shoes, inserts, and other Medicare-covered products with direct insurance billing, visit nocostshoes.com.

For low-income support to access glucose monitors, medical testing and more, visit the Partnership for Prescription Assistance.

To find a Diabetes Camp for children with Type 1 Diabetes to attend, visit “Find a Camp” on the Diabetes Education & Camping Association website.

Free Medical Support Resources for People With Diabetes

Self Care Diary – This printable diary from Lilly Diabetes will help you record all the information your health care provider needs about your diet, blood surgar, and more.

Medication Pocket Cards – This downloadable template from Diabetes Education Services will help you record your medical regimin, including insulin injections and oral medications, making it easier to get emergency care or share medical history with a new physician.

Monitoring Guide – This printable resource from the American Association of Diabetes Educators will teach you how to record your blood sugar properly.

Blood Glucose Monitoring Tip Sheets – These resources from the American Association of Diabetes Educators offer expert tips on how to properly monitor your blood sugar.

How to Inject Insulin – This guide from the American Association of Diabetes Educators will help you inject insulin properly.

Diabetes and Pregnancy Guide – This guide from the CDC is designed to help women have safe and healthy pregnancies and to control gestational diabetes.

Medication Planning Worksheet – This printable resource from the American Association of Diabetes Educators will help you ask the right questions to your doctor and remember to take the medications you need. Available in English and Spanish.

Medication Taking Tip List and Checklist – This printable resource from the American Association of Diabetes Educators will help put your medical plan into action.

Free Diet and Meal Planning Resources for People With Diabetes

7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan – This meal plan from eatingwell.com is a great starting point for those looking to restructure their diet to manage diabetes.

Best Foods for You: Healthy Food Choices for People with Diabetes – This printable list from the American Diabetes Association is a great guideline for your grocery shopping and meal planning.

Cutting Back on Salt – This printable resource from the American Diabetes Association offers great tips to help salt lovers cut down on their consumption to manage their diabetes.

Healthy Food Swaps – This printable resource from the American Diabetes Association can help you pick better snacks to respond to your cravings and follow doctor’s orders. Great to hang on your refrigerator or in a snack cabinet!

How Much Sugar? – This printable resource from the American Diabetes Association offers a step-by-step guide to measuring the sugar content of food and drinks.

Money Saving Shopping Tips – This printable resource from the American Diabetes Association can help you eat healthy on a budget.

Recipe Makeover – This printable resource and worksheet from the American Diabetes Association will help you adapt your old recipes to your new lifestyle with healthier substitutions.

Smart Snacks – This printable resource and worksheet from the American Diabetes Association will help you plan for healthier snacking.

Fast Food Tips – This printable resource from the American Diabetes Association will help you make better choices when visiting a fast food restaurant.

Alcohol & Diabetes – This printable resource from the American Diabetes Association will give you helpful tips and valuable information on drinking alcohol with diabetes.

Free Active Lifestyle & Exercise Resources for People With Diabetes

8 Week Workout Plan – This 8-week exercise plan from SparkPeople offers a straight-forward week by week plan and physical activity tips for people with diabetes – includes helpful videos to learn new exercises.

Being Active Worksheet – This worksheet from the American Association of Diabetes Educators will help you plan for everyday activity.

Tips for Being Active with Diabetes – This worksheet from the CDC offers tips for a safe and healthy exercise plan.

Free Risk Management Resources for People With Diabetes

Reducing Risk Worksheet – This worksheet and tip sheet from the American Association of Diabetes Educators will help you stay safe and healthy during daily activities.

Diabetes & Cardiovascular Disease These resources from the American Association of Diabetes Educators will educate you on how to care for your heart health with diabetes.

Free Mental Health Resources for People With Diabetes

Problem Solving Worksheet – This resource from the American Association of Diabetes Educators will help you take on some of the decisions and challenges that come with a diabetes diagnosis.

Healthy Coping – This resource from the American Association of Diabetes Educators will help you adjust to the lifestyle changes that come with diabetes.

Mental Health and Diabetes – This resource from the American Association of Diabetes Educators will help you manage mental health issues like stress, depression, and anger. Available in both English and Spanish.

Peer & Community Support Listing – This list from the American Association of Diabetes Educators will help you find support in your community and online.

Free Holiday Resources for People With Diabetes

Holidays and Special Events Worksheet – This printable worksheet from the American Diabetes Association helps you make a plan for eating healthy during special occasions.

Holiday Tip Sheets from AADE – These tip sheets from the American Association of Diabetes Educators will help you manage your health on a variety of occasions, from Thanksgiving dinner to picnics and even football season. Available in English and Spanish!

Buffet Table Tips for People with Diabetes This resource from the CDC offers tips to help people with diabetes manage buffets, potlucks, and other special occasions.