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Tips for Getting Support You Need

A good indication of how well a person is controlling diabetes is how much support they receive from family and friends. However, getting the right kind of support from those around you requires patience and communication. Try these four tips:

1. Voice your opinion

If you have diabetes, you need to decide what kind of support works for you, and how the people around you should offer it. For example, it might be frustrating if your family eats foods that may not be in your nutrition plan while you are following a stricter diet. If this is the case, voice your opinion when you’re selecting food—perhaps during a visit to the grocery store—and mention how much it easier it is to follow your nutrition plan when everyone joins in. While family members may not want to eat exactly the same foods as you, they can make an effort to include your goals in meal planning, too.

2. Find a little help from your friends

In some cases, family can be the one source of unconditional support for your diabetes management. Many people with diabetes discover that challenges arise when socializing with friends. Friends can sometimes feel unsure about talking to you about diabetes, so it is important that you bring the issue up first and discuss your needs. It can be helpful to have your friends remind you to test your blood glucose (sugar), or count carbohydrates in an entrée when you go out to dinner. Whatever the situation, talking about it will help improve the kind of support you receive.

3. Understand that a little diabetes education goes a long way

It is important to educate both family and friends about what it means to have diabetes. Not only will it help them understand where you are coming from, but it will also be helpful in managing medical emergencies such as hypoglycemia. Let your family and friends know what the signs of low and high blood sugar are so they can help you stay vigilant in your diabetes management.

4. Avoid the diabetes blame game

It’s difficult to strike the right balance between the foods you eat and your blood glucose readings. Make sure family and friends understand that blaming the person with diabetes for high or low blood sugar levels never helps and frequently causes hurt feelings, arguments or serious conflict. The key to genuine support is to avoid blame and focus on problem solving. If necessary, ask your healthcare provider to help convey this message to your loved ones.

There may be a little work involved in getting the support you need, but once you involve your loved ones in your diabetes care management, you’ll probably find that it makes you feel better, too.

Page last updated: October 16, 2019