By Martha Funnell, MS, RN, CDE
Planning for your Golden Years is something you can do when you are having a bad day or you are feeling overwhelmed by all you need to get done. One of the ways most people plan for their senior years is by saving money so they can be secure and have financial resources to do what they want. While having the resources you need is important, most people dream about being healthy enough to do what they want to do in their Golden Years. Just like you need to start saving your money well before retirement, there are also steps you can take now to ensure your good health in the future.
THE FOUR STEPS TO STAYING HEALTHY AS YOU AGE
A large study showed that there are four steps to help middle aged people stay healthy as they get older.
1. Eat fruits and vegetables.
3. Drink alcohol moderately.
4. Don’t smoke.
You've heard about these four steps for many years. What’s new is that this study showed how the more you stick to the four steps, the greater the benefit in terms of staying healthier, longer.
When people reach middle age, they often think about how to spend their Golden Years. Most of us picture those years as a time when we get to do all the things we enjoy but don’t have time to do when work, family and other day-to-day tasks keep us busy.
LIVE LONGER WITH DIABETES
Although this study was not specifically about people with diabetes, the good news is that the four steps to staying healthy as you age can also help you manage your diabetes and avoid diabetes problems over the long term.
As part of your diabetes care, you and your healthcare provider probably set an A1C goal—often less than 7 percent. But it can be hard to reach your target A1C because obstacles can get in the way. For example: maybe you are not able to take the medicines you need, or you have side effects from your medicines. Or, maybe you have other health problems. In addition, try not to get discouraged if you are taking steps to staying healthy and you don’t see immediate improvements in your A1C level. It can take time for the changes in your A1C level to catch up with your healthy-living efforts.
If your A1C is not at your target, talk to your healthcare provider about changes you can make in your treatment plan to help you get there.
THE GOLDEN YEARS
So what do these studies mean for you and your Golden Years? Working to manage your diabetes and keeping yourself healthy today will pay off in the future, making your Golden Years as good as gold.