My mom has type 2 diabetes and does not want to make any changes to her lifestyle whatsoever. In fact, she abuses food and sweets and does no exercise at all. We have tried talking to her about the importance of her health and lifestyle, but she is refusing to listen and has admitted to wanting to ignore her disease because it is depressing to think about. What could happen if she continues like this and is there anything we can do to help her?
It’s important to remember that being diagnosed with diabetes can be shocking and frightening. Many people become overwhelmed when finding out that they have diabetes and may go into a state of denial. Understandably, you’re concerned and you want to help your mother as much as possible. It’s certainly important that she manage her diabetes to lessen her chances of developing complications. But it’s very likely that giving her advice or telling her what to do is falling on deaf ears – she’s not ready to hear it and she may feel like you’re pressuring her, which will only end up backfiring. What you can do is let her know that you care about her, and ask her how you can be of help. Maybe she’d appreciate having someone help with grocery shopping or meal preparation. Offer to go walking with her. Or perhaps she’d be willing to have you join her for her medical appointments, or accompany her to a diabetes class or a visit with a dietitian. Finally, I’d also encourage you to have a talk with her primary care provider about your concerns, especially if you think she is depressed. Your mom may be more likely to listen to advice or guidance from her provider.
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