Essential tips for diabetes caregivers

Diabetes is a chronic condition and its management requires daily motivation and support. Maintaining regular testing, timely medication, diabetes specific diet, and regular doctor appointments is not an easy task; It requires regular planning and monitoring. Patients usually tend to dismiss or forget doctor’s instruction and this leads to complications. Hence, familial/caregiver support is extremely beneficial in helping patients take control of their diabetes.

The caregivers play a major role in the life of people with diabetes even though supporting a loved one can be both mentally and physically challenging. Please consider the following tips:

Knowledge is king

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand”, said Albert Einstein. The same holds true for knowledge of diabetes. It is not enough to know the symptoms, role of medication and the problems that can be caused by diabetes. Caregivers can expand their knowledge to:

• Ways to monitor blood sugar level and blood pressure
• The role of daily physical activity and healthy diet to maintain blood sugar level
• Seeking information through the online media to stay abreast of the latest development in diabetes management

Be the change you want to see

Prescribed lifestyle modification mandatory for a diabetic may not be limited to just the patient. The whole family can take one step at a time towards being healthy and supporting the patient’s modified life pattern.

• Start exercising together
• Cook diabetes friendly food and eat together

Track your mood

Managing diabetes is a non-stop effort for both people living with diabetes as well as their caregivers. This means that the caregivers at a given point may feel exhausted while taking care of the diabetic patient. It is important for them to be calm while delivering care and act promptly if the patient faces any complication or goes in hypoglycaemia. There are ways in which caregivers can take care of themselves too, if they feel overwhelmed:

• May be once a week, spend a day doing what you like
• Go out with friends, watch a movie or go to a spa
• Communicate to the patient how much you can do and what are your limitations
• Understand you cannot force the patient to change
• Leave the door open for your loved one to come and seek help when needed

With patient’s permission, keep in touch with the patient’s physician, dietician, certified diabetes educator, and anyone else on his or her healthcare team. Know as much as you can about how your loved one is doing and what you can do to help them. Constant communication with healthcare team is an essential part of helping your loved one successfully manage diabetes.

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