It is much easier for people to manage their diabetes when they have the support of their friends and family. Diabetes can be a difficult disease to handle alone and there are many things you can do to help someone you care about.
One thing you can do is learn about diabetes and how people can live well with diabetes. Not only will this show how much you care, but it will make you a much more useful part of the conversation.
Ask your loved one to teach you about how he or she is managing diabetes. Join a diabetes support group - in person or online. You can check with your local hospital or health clinic to find one. Read about diabetes online and visit your local library for books about diabetes. Ask your loved one's health care team how you can learn more about managing diabetes.
Perhaps most important of all, you can ask your loved one about how they are coping with diabetes and what you can do to help. Here are a few questions you can ask:
- Do you ever feel down or overwhelmed about all you have to do to manage your diabetes? For helpful insight, read Diabetes and Psychosocial Problems.
- Have you set goals to manage your diabetes? Have you written these goals down? What things are getting in the way of reaching your goals?
- Have you talked to your health care team about your diabetes care and how you want to reach your goals? Read: Tips For Talking to Your Doctor About Diabetes; How to Talk to Your Doctor About Diabetes; and Questions To Ask About Your Diabetes Medicines.
- What can I do to help? Example: Are there things I can do to make it easier for you to live with diabetes? If you want to be more active, will it help if we take walks together?
What else can you do to help? Try some of these tips:
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- Walking together daily gives you time to talk and stay active. Read: Walking for Exercise: A Step in the Right Direction.
- Find ways to help your loved one manage the stress of living with diabetes. Being a good listener is often the most important thing you can do to help.
- Ask your loved one if he or she would like reminders about doctor visits, when to check blood sugar, and when to take medicine.
- Help your loved one write a list of questions for the health care team. Read: Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Team About Your Type 2 Diabetes
- Eat well. Help your loved one make diabetic meals that include foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Make sure you browse our Diabetic Recipes to help with meal planning. Also read: Living with Diabetes: 6 Tips for Making Healthy Eating Choices and I Have Diabetes: What Should I Eat?
- Cut back on sweets by serving fresh fruit for dessert.
- Find things you can do together such as walking, dancing, or gardening.
Being active is a great way to handle stress. Exercise should be an integral part of the treatment plan for all persons with diabetes. Exercise helps all persons with diabetes control weight, improve insulin sensitivity, bring about a healthier mental outlook, and reduce cardiovascular risk factors.
Here are some articles that can help: