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When your friend or family member is faced with a diagnosis of diabetes, there are many ways to help and offer support. When a family member has diabetes, it can affect the entire family. Let's look at a few ways to help.
-Be a good listener- one of the ways to manage stress is to talk about issues and concerns related to diabetes care and treatment regimens. Just being a non-judgmental listener can help.
-Hit the books- Attend diabetes classes and seminars to learn as much as you can. Start with local hospitals and health groups in your area to find nearby classes- many of which are free. This blog contains a resource page with many free educational resources.
-Become an exercise buddy- Help your friend or loved one stick to their prescribed exercise routine by sharing the time together. Having an exercise partner makes the time go by quickly and will soon become an anticipated daily routine. Fun activities can include walking, gardening, dancing, etc.
"Having an exercise partner makes the time go by quickly and will soon become an anticipated daily routine."
-Offer reminders- Help out by offering to give reminders about doctor appointments, taking medicines and checking blood sugars. Help write a list of questions for the health care team.
-Change your diet- Following a balanced and heart healthy diet will make it easier for others with diabetes to stick with their diet. You will be able to share recipes and find restaurants that offer foods you both can enjoy. Study nutrition information posted online by your favorite restaurants to help make eating out a healthier option. Offer to prepare fruit for dessert rather than high carb sweets.
-Be prepared - Swings in blood sugar levels can be scary for the unprepared. Arm yourself with knowledge of the symptoms and treatment of high and low blood sugar. If your friend or family member requests your help, ask the diabetes care team for specific recommendations related to caring for glucose fluctuations.
-Go to support groups- Offer to attend diabetes support group meetings. These groups offer a wealth of real-world knowledge and helpful tips for day-to-day living with diabetes. Many life-long friendships have developed out of these helpful environments.