Why is the Role of a Diabetes Caregiver Important?
A study of more than 5000 adults with Diabetes highlighted the importance of family, friends, and colleagues in improving well-being and self-management. Family members are often asked to share the responsibility of disease management. They can provide many forms of support, such as instrumental support in driving patients to appointments or helping inject insulin, and social and emotional support in helping patients cope with their disease.
Through their communication and attitudes, family members often have a significant impact on a patient’s psychological well-being, the decision to follow recommendations for medical treatment, and ability to initiate and maintain changes in diet and exercise.
Family members can feel distressed by their loved one’s Diabetes due to limited knowledge about Diabetes or not knowing how to support their loved one.
The family may also have misconceptions, such as believing the patient knows more about Diabetes than the patient actually reports or not understanding their loved one’s needs in Diabetes management.
Knowledge about the disease, strategies to alter family routines, and optimal ways to cope with the emotional aspects of the disease are some of the aspects of Diabetes self-management that family members need.
Educating family members about Diabetes-care needs can help ease this strain by explaining why these changes are necessary, how these changes can best be implemented, and where to find additional information, such as healthy recipes or exercise routines.
The Cornerstones of Diabetes Care for Diabetes Caregiver
The following 4 cornerstones of care are really important to pay attention to when caring for a family member with Diabetes:
- Healthy Eating. Making smart food choices and building a Diabetes-friendly meal plan (with a variety of foods) will help make sure they get the right amounts of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
- Being Physically Active. Exercising and staying active are important for every diabetic patient
- Taking Medicine. Your Diabetes care team will tell you which medication/insulin is right for your family member. It is also important that you make sure they take all of their other medicine(s) as directed.
- Tracking. Checking and recording blood sugar can help you see patterns. These patterns can tell you how his or her Diabetes care plan is working and what (if anything) needs to change.
- Here are a few things to keep in mind:
a. Listen First: One way to start is by doing lots of listening rather than talking. That way you can gauge whether someone is ready to accept help. Everyone is at different stages with their Diabetes.
- Ascertain where they are in their journey as this will determine how you can best help them. Don’t assume anything.
- Have an open conversation: Ask what you can do to help.
- Make it a joint effort: Join your friend or family member in his or her efforts to live a healthier lifestyle. Offer to start an exercise program with him or her. Or adopt better eating habits. Let the person you are caring for, know he or she is not in this alone.
- Going to the doctor together: It is a good idea to attend medical appointments.
- Watch for low blood sugar called hypoglycemia: Symptoms might be sweating, feeling hot, shakiness and a fast beating heart. It’s dangerous for many reasons and can result in falls or a decline in cognitive functioning.
- Check that they’re taking the correct doses of insulin and medication and not skipping meals.
- Avoid Getting angry: Especially if you’re dealing with kids suffering from type 1 Diabetes. Take a deep breath and control your feelings.
- Attend a Diabetes support group with them: Encourage the person to attend a Diabetes support group, and offer to go along. Both of you can receive support and learn strategies to cope with your feelings and the disease.
- Be positive: A Diabetes diagnosis can be scary, especially since there’s always the risk of complications. Although life-threatening complications can happen, you should keep conversations positive when speaking to someone living with Diabetes. They are most likely aware of the possible complications, so they don’t need to hear about people who died from Diabetes or had limbs amputated. Offer positive support, not negative stories.
If you have a child with Diabetes, gradually teach him or her how to manage the condition: Although parents should always have a role in monitoring their child’s Diabetes, as they get older, teens can take an increasing role in blood sugar monitoring and meal planning.
Disclaimer: The above information has been prepared by a qualified medical professional and may not represent the practices followed universally. The suggestions listed in this article constitute relatively common advice given to patients, and since every patient is different, you are advised to consult your physician, if in doubt, before acting upon this information. Lupin Limited has only facilitated the distribution of this information to you in the interest of patient education and welfare.