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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Organize medications by day. When you keep all your medications in the large generic containers used by most pharmacies,
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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.