There are support groups and information readily available online and in many areas in person for those that have been diagnosed with diabetes. It can be an overwhelming disease that is hard to understand. Often it can be just as overwhelming and even harder for a loved one to understand what the individual may be going through. It is just as important for loved ones of those living with diabetes to understand the disease, as it is for the person managing and living with it.
Diabetes can be a lonely disease and those living with it need to know that there is help and support around them in order to really get it under control. That makes the loved ones a key part of good diabetes management. Here are a few tips that may make the transition into a life with diabetes a little smoother for both you and your loved one with the diagnosis.
The best thing that you can do for them is to learn everything you can about diabetes. In fact, it would be great for you to do it with your loved one so that you are learning together. That can make it a little less overwhelming for everybody involved. There is power in numbers, so don't hide the fact that you have a loved one with diabetes. When you get the chance educate others in order to avoid awkward encounters in the future.
One of the hardest parts of being diagnosed with diabetes is the change in diet and learning what someone with diabetes can and can't eat. Do your loved one a favor and eat what they eat. Don't tempt them by eating a completely different meal than they do. That will just make them feel worse about what they trying to do to become healthier. If everyone around them is eating a diet that is healthy for a diabetic it will just become a lifestyle for everyone and the one with the diabetes won't always feel like the odd man out.
Be aware that many that are diagnosed with diabetes feel that they aren’t normal anymore, and that can make them uncomfortable around others. They don't want to be different so they may try to hide the fact that they have diabetes, but this isn't healthy and can lead to denial. Try to do things that make them feel like they are a part of something. Participate in activities where their diabetes doesn't have to be a factor.
Most of all be supportive. Being supportive includes many different parts. Believe in your loved one and their ability to make good choices when it comes to their health. Let them know that they are the expert when it comes to their diabetes. When they see you believing, they will start to believe in themselves and will take charge and make good judgment calls when it comes to diet and medications. But make sure that you hold them accountable. If they don’t think anyone else knows or cares about how their blood sugar control is they won't try as hard to keep tight control. They should be accountable to their doctor every time they go in for a checkup, but they need someone to help keep them in line in between appointments. If you see them making a bad choice when it comes to food or corrections to stabilize their blood sugar let them know and offer an alternative that may be better for them. They may resent you for a while for doing this, but they will come to appreciate an extra pair of eyes to help them stay on track.
Just remember that being there for your loved one is the best diabetes management tool they can have. Diabetes can be hard to live with, but it is much easier when you don't have to live with it alone.