Diabetes termed the lifestyle disease, once diagnosed requires lifelong adherence to
following the recommended diet, physical activity, and medication. This warrants for a complete overhauling of the existing way of living, changing things that are an integral part of ones day to day life and making room for some new additions to ones routine.
Research studies have shown a positive relationship between family support and better diabetes management. So, how can family members support their loved ones deal with diabetes better?
Here, are 5 ways you can make a positive impact on your family members diabetes management:
Educate yourself about diabetes
The first step towards being a supportive family member is to understand what is it that you are dealing with, a diabetes diagnosis is overwhelming with lots of misconceptions and myths surrounding it. Start by understanding science-backed facts about:
- Diet – What is recommended eating plan for a diabetic? What to eat, what to avoid. How various foods impact blood sugar levels.
- Exercise – Understand the importance of physical activity in managing diabetes, do’s and don’t of exercising and finding the recommended activity schedule for your family member.
- Medication – Adherence to one’s medication schedule is of utmost importance in diabetes management. It could include oral medication or insulin. Learn the basics of insulin if your family member has been prescribed the same.
- Emergency preparedness – Have a plan for emergencies in advance. Here is a template for a diabetes emergency plan.
Be supportive, without being a nag
Positive reinforcement is the way to go when supporting someone with diabetes. Wanting to help someone get better is not an excuse to micromanage someone and this approach often backfires and demotivates the person suffering from diabetes. This can’t be said for children and young adults with diabetes, they do require a lot of involvement from their parents.
Make changes together
Diabetes management involves leading a healthy life which is good for everyone. Work as a team! Some things you can do together:
- Go on walks, exercise together
- Cook healthy meals
- Find things to do together with other than eating out or television like going on a hike
Help them set realistic goals
Encourage your loved one to set small realistic goals. Eg. Walking a minimum of 10,000 steps a day, to not reach out for that extra chappati. Having rigid and hard to achieve goals like “I will never skip a day at the gym.” or “I will never overeat” often lead to disappointment and guilt. It’s better to start small and make good habits one step at a time.
Help create a stressfree environment
The stress of any kind, be it physical or emotional have a negative impact on one’s sugar levels. Encourage an environment where it’s okay to say NO to things that overwhelm someone. Work together to create an environment of minimal stress that has your and your family’s well-being the top priority
Are there any tips that worked for you and your family when dealing with diabetes? Do share in the comments below.