Diabetes can be a difficult illness to manage by yourself. If one of your loved ones has recently been diagnosed with this condition, it’s understandable that they might feel upset, scared or confused.
But there are ways you can help them cope with their diagnosis, and help them understand their new lifestyle. In this blog post, we’ll look at some ways of supporting individuals diagnosed with diabetes.
1. Learn about the illness
Begin by talking with your loved one about their diagnosis. Ask how they are managing. And talk with their doctor to find out how you can learn more.
Do some online research, and see if there are support groups in your area. If not, you should be able to find a web-based group.
It’s important to let your loved one know they aren’t alone. Millions of people live with diabetes, which is why finding a support group can be valuable. Your loved one can meet with other people with diabetes and get support, answers and advice.
2. Make sure they know it’s serious
Treating and managing diabetes isn’t something that can wait. Even if your loved one feels fine now, it’s still crucial that they make changes to their lifestyle right away.
Let them know they’ll be visiting the doctor more often. Annual foot and eye exams can avoid the issues that result in more serious problems (blindness, amputation).
3. Let them know their life isn’t over
Yes, life with diabetes will be different than life without it, but they can still live a normal life, if they take steps to manage their diabetes.
4. Ask them questions
Here are some things you may want to ask:
- Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all the things you need to do to manage diabetes?
- Do you have goals for dealing with diabetes? What are the obstacles to hitting those goals?
- What can I do to help?
- Have you talked to your doctor about reaching those goals?
Sometimes, supporting individuals diagnosed with diabetes is just a matter of listening.
However, there are some other more direct ways to help them:
- Ask them if they need reminders about checking their blood sugar, taking medication and visits to the doctor.
- Help them make a list of questions for their doctor.
- Find activities you can do together to keep active.
As you’ll see in the next two sections, diet and exercise are two crucial factors in helping your loved one manage their diabetes.
5. Help craft a meal plan
Living with diabetes means eating fewer fats and carbohydrates. Carbs raise their blood sugar levels, while fat does the same thing to cholesterol.
This doesn’t mean they’ll have to set aside all their favorite foods. It may be enough to cut out saturated and trans fats, eat smaller portions and drink unsweetened, low-calorie beverages instead of sodas. Meals should include lean meats, whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.
6. Get active
Getting regular exercise can help someone with diabetes lose weight and lower their blood. Find a way to help your loved one get at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Look for things you can do together, such as walking, dancing or gardening.
If you’re looking for additional ways to help your loved one, contact Creative Care.
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