Help Loved Ones with Diabetes
Reviewed by Amy Campbell, MS, RD, CDE
If you have friends or loved ones with diabetes, there are many things you can do to help them. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Learn about diabetes
There is a lot to learn about living with diabetes, from meal planning to blood glucose monitoring to taking medicines. By learning as much as you can about diabetes, you can better help your loved one manage his or her diabetes and feel less overwhelmed.
- Join a diabetes support group. Your healthcare provider, hospital or local health clinic will have information about groups in your area.
- Join an online diabetes support group or forum. If there aren’t any live support groups in your community, an online support group can be helpful. One forum to try is through the American Diabetes Association at http://community.diabetes.org/.
- Read about diabetes online. A good source is YourDiabetesInfo.org
- Talk to your loved one’s diabetes healthcare team about the best ways for you to help. Offer to go to diabetes appointments with your loved one or friend.
Talk to your loved one about coping with diabetes
Daily diabetes management can be stressful, but just talking with your loved one about his or her worries can help put you on the same track. Here are a few questions you can ask to get the conversation started:
- What things are hard for you to manage? What things are easy?
- Have you set any self-care goals?
- How can I help you reach those goals?
- Do you sometimes feel upset or stressed?
- What can I do to help you feel better?
- Do you talk to your healthcare team about your feelings? Do you want me to help you talk to them?
Find out what your loved one needs
It’s important to know if what you are doing is helpful to your loved one or not. Try asking these questions to find out:
- What do I do that helps with your diabetes care?
- What do I do that makes it harder for you to manage your diabetes?
- What can I do to help you more than I do now?
Be sure you’re on the same page
Everyone responds differently to offers of help. Some people want a lot of involvement from their loved ones, and others do not. Be sure you know what your loved one wants and needs by asking directly.
Here are some more ideas for how to help
- Keep track of healthcare appointments on a calendar.
- Make a list of questions for the healthcare team.
- Find out where to buy healthy, low-cost foods.
- Prepare homemade meals that fit into his or her diabetes meal plan.
- Find a safe place to walk or be more active in other ways.
- Offer to help with setting up a medicine schedule.
- Ask your loved one to show you how to check a blood glucose and/or give an insulin injection.