With any major diagnosis comes dramatic changes to a person’s lifestyle. Diabetes is no exception. Making lifestyle changes for your health is difficult for anyone so support from friends, family, and colleagues is important. Below are five tips on how you, as an individual can be there for someone you care about who is living with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Be Respectful, Don’t Make Them a Spectacle
Be supportive of their routine maintenance. Self -care can take a variety of forms but some may bother people, especially those that are sensitive to the sight of blood and needles. People with diabetes need to test their blood sugar levels and most methods require them to prick their own finger. Some people take insulin and have to administer their own insulin shots at meal time and other times. Don’t draw unnecessary attention to someone because of their health maintenance routine. It is important to not make anyone feel ashamed of what they need to do to take care of their body. So be supportive during their journey with diabetes!
Be Positive, Don’t Tell Horror Stories
Chances are you know someone else who was diagnosed with diabetes or have heard stories of extreme cases. Though these are educational in the sense that you can learn more about the impact diabetes can have on different people, keep in mind each case is different and sharing every scary story with someone who is diabetic can cause unnecessary stress. Be a positive force in that person’s life. Don’t make light of their struggles, but rather encourage them and cheer them on.
Be Verbal, Not Silent
Whether they were recently diagnosed or have been managing for a while now, diabetes can be difficult for patients to open up about. If you find it difficult to talk to someone about their diabetes, research local support groups that you can attend together. This can provide a place for them to discuss their challenges with diabetes around others affected by it and also give you an idea of what people go through and how they are supported.
Be Helpful, Not Forceful
Diabetes requires around the clock management. If they are willing to share with you, talk to them about their schedule and ways you could help them such as:
- Encourage healthy eating by sharing healthy recipes or cooking together
- Be workout partners and push each other to fitness goals
- Keep them company at doctor’s appointments or during treatments
Try to avoid being pushy or overbearing. Don’t try to force your ideas on them or make them feel as though they are unable to manage their own health. Remember, they are the expert on their diabetes!
Be Informed, But Don’t Play Doctor
The closer you are to someone with diabetes the more important it is to learn about how their body is behaving and what treatments they are using. If you are able to attend a doctor’s appointment, don’t shy away from asking questions. While sites like WebMD can be helpful, licensed doctors have dedicated years of their lives to medical practice and are there to make sure patients make safe healthy choices. Also understand that if someone has been living with and managing diabetes for a long period of time, they are the expert on it!
But Most Of All – Be Positive!
Managing diabetes is a full-time job, and it is important to be aware of this. Let the person know you appreciate how hard they work to handle the disease and that you will support them. Above are general tips on how to support someone living with diabetes but always try asking someone what kind of support they need as they may have different needs.
Who Are We? Mitokon Health Center of Missouri
We’re Mitokon Health Center – A diabetes center based near St Louis, MO that offers a breakthrough treatment for those interested in taking control of their diabetes and their symptoms. Have questions? Contact us at Mitokon Health Center for more information by calling (314) 628-1607 or emailing us at Info@MitokonHealthCenter.com