How to be There for a Diabetic

A family offering to cook healthy meals for their diabetic son

Diabetes is not only scary for the person diagnosed with it but also for those near and dear to the person with diabetes. Sometimes it can be really difficult if your loved one has diabetes because you don’t know how to show them love and support without hovering over them. We have a few tips to help you support your diabetic friend/family member without being overbearing or hard to talk to.

No One Likes a Diabetes Police

We understand that you are worried for your diabetic friend or family member, but that does not mean we can make decisions or them especially if they are adults. We can guide or, rather, help them switch towards healthier alternatives but we must respect them if they want to make the switch at their own pace. We are individuals with a unique set of opinions, we must respect our friend/family member with diabetes and honour their thoughts and opinions. Sometimes, your friend or family member might want to undergo a certain treatment for diabetes and though you may not entirely agree with the course of treatment it is not your call to make the final decision. You can, at most, ask them to research more on the treatment or offer to do research with them but the final decision to manage their diabetes is their call.

Remember there is a difference between showing concern and nagging. If we nag a person or constantly remind them that they are sick, they might shut you out of their life. There are days when a person with diabetes has blood sugar within range. They can have dessert during those days and we shouldn’t constantly try to stop them from having sugar. Yeah maybe if their habits seem a little dangerous, we can ask them to check their blood sugar, but that’s it. We know, it comes from a good place, but the right kind of communication will work wonders.

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Being there for someone is a broad concept. Tell them how you can help them instead of using the broad over used statement, ‘I’m here for you’. For instance, you can offer to go to the doctor with them, or research diabetic friendly food items with them. Again, the amount of help you provide depends on how close you are with the diabetic person. Do you live with them? Or do you go to college together? Are you best friends? All this reflects how realistically you can help them. Someone living near a diabetic can always do a lot more than someone living far. And, remember no one likes to be treated like they are a sick patient.

Essentially, a diabetics diet is a healthy choice of living. So, if you are a family member, offer to make healthier decisions around the house. Stop storing junk food so that they are not tempted to deviate from their diet. You can also offer to join the gym or any other sport/fitness routine with them so that they do not feel alone.

Research

There are a lot of myths about diabetes out there. If your friend or family member has diabetes, you should get the facts straight. Research with them but also research on your own. Learn what to do in case of low blood sugar and how much exercise is good for them, fruits and vegetables they can or cannot eat, etc.

Research keeps you prepared and allows you to stay ahead of the situation. So, make sure you do a good amount of research to keep your loved one protected.

Can They Count on You?

Diabetes can be a lonely disease. Sometimes, high blood sugar makes a person cranky or emotional, and sometimes they need someone to talk to when they feel hopeless about their condition. Do you want to be the person your friend/family member can talk to? If you do, all you have to do is listen.

Sometimes it can be a little difficult, especially if your diabetic friend seems to be showing signs of depression. You can ask them to join a group. Every diabetic is different and may react differently to such a suggestion. Some may sportingly give the suggestion a thought while others can dismiss it. So, you need to handle the situation tactfully.

Have a Little Fun

Diabetes is not all grim and no play. If not anything, diabetes pushes you towards a healthier lifestyle. It may be the perfect opportunity to go out more on trips and excursions. You can be that friend/partner. The one who makes diabetes fun. Plan trips and excursions that you and your diabetic friend can do together. If you plan to eat out, search for restaurants that sell healthy yet tasty meals. Search for ways to make delicious healthy meals at home too. There are lots of ways to make diabetes fun. And honestly, sometimes we all need to be reminded that life isn’t so bad after all!

We know it is difficult to be there for a diabetic. Sometimes it gets a little overwhelming too, but we hope these tips were helpful. As time goes by, diabetes will become more manageable for your friend/family member and supporting a diabetic will be more natural to you.

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