The possibility of knowing someone living with diabetes is higher. The condition, which affects a significant number in the world is demanding and at times, needs support from peers and family. In fact, a helping hand at the right moment from loved ones can help to manage diabetes easily and make the journey easy by making them feel they’re not going through it alone.
One thing to understand is the difference between offering support and pestering. Taking an interest in your loved one’s life is one thing; taking control of their lifestyle is another. Therefore, on World Diabetes Day, if you wonder as to how to help someone with diabetes, we tell you 7 ways to support a loved one manage diabetes and find a balance between family and diabetes.
1. Encourage healthy eating
While some people with diabetes manage their condition through insulin therapy and medications, others don’t need to take medications. However, despite this, it is essential to make healthy choices and encourage healthy eating amongst people living with diabetes.
The challenge is to make a change in eating habits and restricting choices, especially for someone who is newly diagnosed. Be a source of encouragement by adopting the same habits. Learn the best diets and help them in the transition journey. Do not eat unhealthy foods or sugary drinks in front of them as it might make it hard for them to stick to a nutritious routine.
2. Offer diabetes family support and attend diabetes support group meetings with them
Diabetes is a progressive condition and can become overwhelming over time. Therefore, it is essential for them to vent out their emotions as and when it comes to a brim. This is where a diabetes support group can be helpful for them. If you are caring for someone with diabetes, encourage them to join a group and offer to attend the meetings with them. Help them in finding the balance between family and diabetes.
3. Learn more about diabetes
There are a lot of myths and wrong ideas that are associated with diabetes. For instance, it is often believed that people living with diabetes must stay away from sugar as much as possible. However, that is not the case. The key to healthy eating is moderation.
Learn more about the condition, how it works, how to prevent emergencies or complications, and other pieces of information that are useful. Attend a doctor’s appointment with your loved one if the need arises.
4. Be observant and look out for signs of hypoglycemia/hyperglycemia
It is quite common to see a drop or a hike in the blood sugar levels of a person with diabetes. The condition, whether hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia can cause cloudy thinking, fatigue, and weakness.
Discuss with your loved ones about the signs in advance so that you are prepared to take action if something happens. Please be mindful of the symptoms and do not mix them with one another.
5. Be positive and motivate them to stay positive
Did you know diabetes is one of the leading causes of deaths in the world? This is one of the reasons why diabetes diagnosis can be scary. As much as it is life-threatening due to the complications associated with it, you should be positive and motivate them to stay positive. Keep the conversations motivating; however, do not preach. Please note you must offer support, not share negative stories.
6. Don’t blame or judge them, instead, understand them
If someone in your family is newly diagnosed with diabetes, do not blame or judge them for their lifestyle choices. The last they would want to hear is someone telling them where they went wrong. Diabetes is an autoimmune condition and is least likely caused by just poor lifestyle choices. While Type 1 diabetes is not caused due to lifestyle choices, Type 2 diabetes is definitely influenced by lifestyle choices along with a person’s genetics, ageing, and hormonal imbalance.
7. Know when to step back
Always remember the ordeals a person living with diabetes is going through. It is he/she who has to manage diabetes, and not you. Therefore, do not try to police meals or second-guess their choices. It is their choice to take assistance or support from you. Encourage loved ones to vent out their frustrations and do not get offended in any way when they do so.
Family and diabetes: Do’s and Don’ts when supporting your loved ones
While this is just like a summary of the above-mentioned ways, here are some dos and don’ts that can help you in offering diabetes help:
– Do tell them that you understand that diabetes management is a full-time job and you support them
– Make sure you do diabetes sessions with the doctors’ and accompany them in making healthy choices
– Do ask how you can help instead of assuming what they need. However, check what that person wants
– Do show your care by small gestures such as listening to them, learning more about the condition, doing things together, etc.
– Do not play doctor and give them advice, especially if you don’t know enough about the condition
– Do not share other people’s diabetes story to them as it might not help them but make them more anxious
– Do not make them uncomfortable when they are checking for their sugar levels by staring at them. Instead, encourage them if they feel shy to do it in public and make them understand that it is important
– Do not give orders. Make them understand the repercussions of making that choice. Try giving recommendations or making suggestions instead of forcing diabetes help.
World Diabetes Day is observed to spread awareness about the condition. On this day, let us all pledge to learn more about diabetes and ensure that our loved feel comfortable and stay healthy.