Support from family and friends makes a big difference for someone with diabetes. If you know someone living with diabetes, you are likely concerned with their health and wondering how you can support them. It’s most important not to judge and to be open-minded. You can’t remove the disease or make the person follow their treatment plan, but you can offer support and comfort.
Here are our 5 tips for anyone supporting someone with diabetes.
Learn about Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic condition affecting over 34 million adults in the U.S. Although it is a common condition, each person’s disease is slightly different. This makes it important for you to learn about the type of diabetes that your loved one has.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that affects how the body uses and stores blood glucose. It also affects the body’s ability to make and use insulin. The good news is that people living with diabetes can manage their blood glucose levels in different ways and still live very healthy lives.
Spend some time learning about the basics by visiting the American Diabetes Association website. Then, talk with your loved one about their perspective on diabetes.
Listen and Talk
Whether your loved one has been living with diabetes for a few months or several years, the condition can feel overwhelming and stressful. Show your support by asking how you can help. Then truly listen to their needs, as everyone is different. One person may need reminders about medication or appointments, while another may need help cooking or exercising.
Sometimes, people with diabetes just need someone to talk with, especially when they’re feeling alone. Just listening and talking when someone is feeling alone or isolated helps improve their emotional health and wellbeing. Stay positive and avoid blame.
Exercise is important to managing diabetes. Sticking to a regular exercise routine can be difficult for anyone. Yet, it gets easier when you’re working out together.
Offer to be a workout buddy and find something that you both like to do. It may take some time to find what type of movement feels good. Keep trying and encouraging each other.
The recommended guideline for exercise is 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. You can break that time into smaller segments or add more vigorous exercise. Read more tips on making time for exercise.
Deliver Groceries and Diabetes Supplies
Eating healthy and medication regimens are also important to managing diabetes. Does your loved one need help to pick up food or prescriptions? Offer to grab what they need or order for delivery.
If you cook and eat together, find new recipes to try and be supportive in eating healthier too. Read a few of our tips on meal planning and enjoying cooking. If your loved one uses BlueStar to help manage their diabetes, remind them they can use BlueStar to plan their meals and to create their weekly grocery list.
Offer Tech Support for Virtual Appointments
Many healthcare providers are offering virtual appointments to help keep everyone safe. Offer to help get your loved one ready for their appointment. Help them check their devices, apps, and Wi-fi prior to their appointment. Then, offer to take notes and be there for support during the virtual appointment.
Give your loved one a tutorial to help them feel comfortable with any new tools. Not only can this help to stay connected with a doctor, but you can also make sure they can stay connected with family and friends virtually too.
It can be difficult to hear that your loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes, but your support and encouragement can help this person. Be positive and listen to their needs and wants. Learn about the disease but also understand that each person reacts and responds differently to a chronic condition. You may feel like you aren’t doing enough for them, but these small efforts make a huge difference.