Supporting a family member with type 1 diabetes

Supporting a family member with diabetes

The stress of having a loved one in trouble is actually worse than being in trouble yourself – it is even more worrisome when you know they have a chronic condition like diabetes. It is not always easy to know what to say or what to do, as living with diabetes and living with a family member, who has type 1 diabetes needs constant support, care and encouragement.

The complications of type 1 diabetes may be dramatically disabling and can even become life threatening.

Diabetes Complications such as;

  • Nerve damage
  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • Kidney damage
  • Foot and eye damage
  • Skin and mouth complications
  • Pregnancy complications in diabetes

As a family member of a loved one with type 1 diabetes, there are someways where in your help, assistance and support can get them feeling better.

Here’s how you can support and help your loved one manage their type 1 diabetes better

  • Learn about diabetes. Understand and learn the symptoms, conditions and prevention of any emergencies in diabetes. Tag along with your loved one on their doctor’s appointment to understand their progress better.
  • Diabetes is –
    1. A chronic disease that develops due to a combination of genetics and sedentary lifestyle.
    2. A condition where the body needs help to metabolize sugar which enters the blood due to a deficiency in the system.
    3. Although manageable, diabetes requires focus and discipline in the person’s lifestyle, diet and medication.
  • Team effort. Incorporate healthy habits at home; make the treatment and its progress a team effort with your loved one.Start with preparing healthy meals, quit smoking, go for walks and stay active.
  • Stress buster. Become your loved ones stress buster or find ways for them to relax and de-stress. Join them for a dance class or a yoga session. Accompany them and encourage them in activities that relax and make them happy.
  • Ask what they want. Sometimes just ask how you can help them, if they would like you to take them to the doctor’s appointment or if you could cook healthy for them. Be sure to check what they want. Diabetes can take a toll over ones mood and a listening ear really helps!
  • Show them care. A person with diabetes is moody and irritable sometimes, all they need is some care and support. Show that you care by encouraging them, listening to them, understanding their concern and do things that you both enjoy doing.
  • Understand their mood swings.Blood sugar level fluctuation can make people with diabetes jittery, anxious, confused and irritable. Offer emotional support in that moment and help them come down to normal blood sugar level.
  • Glucometer. Remind them to keep their glucometer handy, or you keep it withyou when you both are doing activities together. This will help normalize in case of any emergency episodes of spikes in blood sugar levels.

These tips will help you in being a good support to your loved one dealing with diabetes. Also, being patient is key throughout while your loved one is coping with diabetes. The more you know about their condition, the more you can take care of them.