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Steps to Balance  
 

 how to help someone with diabetes

Why It’s
Important

Type 2 diabetes is a complex disease. As a caregiver, you can make a real difference in the life of someone living with type 2 diabetes. You can help your friend or family member learn more about his or her condition. Join in for doctor visits. Or simply be a good listener.

Want more useful tips on how to care for a friend or family member with
type 2 diabetes? We’ve got information and resources that can help.

  • Knowing
    What to Share

    How does your friend or family member feel about sharing personal information with you? Did you establish boundaries with each other? Have you discussed how your friend or loved one would like your help? Maybe it’s time to learn a little more about how both of you feel.

     talk about diabetes

    Have an open conversation.

    Sometimes people find it hard to talk about their feelings. Ask the person you're caring for what you can share with others about his or her condition. After all, it's his or her diabetes. And ultimately, his or her decision.

    Think before you go public.

    Does the situation at hand really call for you making what may be a private matter public? When in doubt, hold off. Ask the person you’re caring for how he or she feels. That way, you may be able to avoid any misunderstandings.

  • Knowing
    What to Share

    How does your friend or family member feel about sharing personal information with you? Did you establish boundaries with each other? Have you discussed how your friend or loved one would like your help? Maybe it’s time to learn a little more about how both of you feel.

     talk about diabetes

    Take a back seat if possible.

    Try and let the person you're caring for handle things on his or her own. If he or she asks for your help, give your support. Respect for boundaries can go a long way in making a good working relationship between the 2 of you.

    Be aware of exceptions to these rules.

    Of course, there are times when it may make sense to skip this advice. For instance, if there is an emergency.

  • Being
    Respectful

    What is the most considerate way to step in and help the person you care for? Are there more thoughtful ways for you to lend a hand?

     conversation about diabetes

    Simple ways to help lighten the load.

    Ask what you can do to help.
    Don't assume you know. What you think the person you are caring for may need and what he or she actually needs may be very different things.

    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.

  • Being
    Respectful

    What is the most considerate way to step in and help the person you care for? Are there more thoughtful ways for you to lend a hand?

     conversation about diabetes

    Simple ways to help lighten the load.

    Make a few changes at home.
    Help create and maintain an environment that is diabetes-friendly. See that the kitchen is stocked with healthier foods. And don’t be a source of temptation.

    Be generous with encouragement.
    Don’t demand perfection. People are rarely perfect. There may be times when your friend or family member strays from his or her diabetes management plan. Offer your help and support. Tomorrow is another day.

    Download Help a Loved One With Diabetes for more tips on how to help.

  • Going to
    the Doctor
    Together

    Looking to lend your support at the doctor’s office? If you have a role in taking care of your loved one or friend, it's a good idea to attend medical appointments. Here are a few issues that might come up during a visit. Learn what you can do to help.

     handling diabetes checkup

    Check out these tips on handling checkups.

    What if:

    The person you’re caring for asks you to be a silent observer during a checkup. However, the doctor directs all the questions to you. What do you do?

    Try this:

    Graciously remind the doctor that you are there for support, but that the patient is in charge of managing his or her type 2 diabetes.

  • Going to
    the Doctor
    Together

    Looking to lend your support at the doctor’s office? If you have a role in taking care of your loved one or friend, it's a good idea to attend medical appointments. Here are a few issues that might come up during a visit. Learn what you can do to help.

     handling diabetes checkup

    Check out these tips on handling checkups.

    What if:

    The checkup becomes a bit tense between the doctor and the person you’re caring for because wellness goals haven’t been reached. How can you help both of them keep their cool?

    Try this:

    Stay positive. Remind everyone that you are all under some stress, but that you are all working toward the same goal. Remaining positive, patient, and supportive can go a long way.

  • Going to
    the Doctor
    Together

    Looking to lend your support at the doctor’s office? If you have a role in taking care of your loved one or friend, it's a good idea to attend medical appointments. Here are a few issues that might come up during a visit. Learn what you can do to help.

     handling diabetes checkup

    Check out these tips on handling checkups.

    What if:

    The person you are caring for is older. Lately, he or she has been having trouble remembering the things he or she needs to do to help manage type 2 diabetes. How do you get him or her to discuss this with the doctor at the checkup?

    Try this:

    Before the visit, speak with the person you are caring for about the things he or she needs to do as part of his or her diabetes management plan and if he or she is having trouble following the plan. Let your friend or family member know that the doctor can customize the treatment plan to his or her age and specific complications. This may help alleviate any concerns the patient may have about struggling with his or her diabetes management plan.

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  • Testing Your
    Knowledge

    How much do you know about the importance of managing type 2 diabetes? Test your knowledge by taking this quiz. Who knows? You may learn something that can help you be a better caregiver.

     

    Which of the following lifestyle changes might be a good choice for a patient with type 2 diabetes?




    Correct

    Being more active is a good idea.
    It can have a positive effect on a person’s type 2 diabetes and his or her health. The doctor may also ask the patient to

    • Eat diabetes-friendly foods
    • Lose weight
    • Count carbohydrates

    Making these changes may help reduce the patient’s blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure.

    Incorrect

    The right answer is “Become more physically active.”
    Here's why. Being more active can have a positive effect on a person's type 2 diabetes and his or her health. The doctor may also ask the patient to

    • Eat diabetes-friendly foods
    • Lose weight
    • Count carbohydrates

    Making these changes may help reduce the patient’s blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure.

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  • Testing Your
    Knowledge

    How much do you know about the importance of managing type 2 diabetes? Test your knowledge by taking this quiz. Who knows? You may learn something that can help you be a better caregiver.

     

    What is the
    A1C test?





    Correct

    This test measures the average amount of sugar in the blood over the past 2 to 3 months.
    A1C test results help patients and doctors see how well their type 2 diabetes treatment plan is working over time. And if blood sugar levels are under control. The American Diabetes Association recommends an A1C goal below 7% for many adults with type 2 diabetes. Higher or lower A1C goals may be appropriate for other people. Ask the patient’s doctor about the A1C goal that is right for him or her.

    Incorrect

    The correct answer is "A blood test that shows average blood sugar levels over time."
    A1C test results help patients and doctors see how well their type 2 diabetes treatment plan is working over time. And if blood sugar levels are under control. The American Diabetes Association recommends an A1C goal below 7% for many adults with type 2 diabetes. Higher or lower A1C goals may be appropriate for other people. Ask the patient’s doctor about the A1C goal that is right for him or her.

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  • Testing Your
    Knowledge

    How much do you know about the importance of managing type 2 diabetes? Test your knowledge by taking this quiz. Who knows? You may learn something that can help you be a better caregiver.

     

    People with type 2 diabetes cannot eat sweets.



    Correct

    In fact, with a little planning, patients can have sweets from time to time.
    They just need to be cautious. Saving sweets for special occasions is the most healthful way to eat. So keep the focus of the patient’s meal plan on foods such as fresh vegetables, beans, whole grains, nonfat dairy, and fish. It’s also important to keep in mind that most sweets contain large amounts of carbohydrates in a very small serving. So if the patient wants to have a sweet, he or she should try and save it for something special.

    Incorrect

    The correct answer is “False.” In fact, with a little planning, patients can have sweets from time to time.
    They just need to be cautious. Saving sweets for special occasions is the most healthful way to eat. So keep the focus of the patient’s meal plan on foods such as fresh vegetables, beans, whole grains, nonfat dairy, and fish. It’s also important to keep in mind that most sweets contain large amounts of carbohydrates in a very small serving. So if the patient wants to have a sweet, he or she should try and save it for something special.

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  • Testing Your
    Knowledge

    How much do you know about the importance of managing type 2 diabetes? Test your knowledge by taking this quiz. Who knows? You may learn something that can help you be a better caregiver.

     

    In general, how much exercise should adults with type 2 diabetes aim for?




    Correct

    Most experts suggest that adults with type 2 diabetes do at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, 5 days a week.
    If that seems like a lot to do all at once, the person you are caring for can break it up. He or she can try 3 short, 10-minute sessions a day instead. A few ideas include walking the dog, gardening, playing with the kids or grandkids, or going into the bank instead of using the drive-through. It all adds up. Just check with his or her doctor before starting a new exercise program or changing the current program.

    Incorrect

    The right answer for adults with type 2 diabetes is “At least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.”
    If that seems like a lot to do all at once, the person you are caring for can break it up. He or she can try 3 short, 10-minute sessions a day instead. A few ideas include walking the dog, gardening, playing with the kids or grandkids, or going into the bank instead of using the drive-through. It all adds up. Just check with his or her doctor before starting a new exercise program or changing the current program.

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  • Testing Your
    Knowledge

    How much do you know about the importance of managing type 2 diabetes? Test your knowledge by taking this quiz. Who knows? You may learn something that can help you be a better caregiver.

     

    A good way to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight is to skip meals.



    Correct

    Why? When meals are skipped, blood sugar levels may drop and patients may also start craving high-calorie foods.
    There are many ways to lose weight. The patient’s doctor and/or nutritionist can help set up a weight loss or management plan that will support the patient's health goals. Remember, making permanent lifestyle changes is what patients need to do to lose weight and keep it off. It doesn’t happen overnight; losing weight gradually over time is the healthiest way to go.

    Incorrect

    The right answer is “False.” When meals are skipped, blood sugar levels may drop and patients may also start craving high-calorie foods.
    There are many ways to lose weight. The patient’s doctor and/or nutritionist can help set up a weight loss or management plan that will support the patient's health goals. Remember, making permanent lifestyle changes is what patients need to do to lose weight and keep it off. It doesn’t happen overnight; losing weight gradually over time is the healthiest way to go.

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  • Testing Your
    Knowledge

    How much do you know about the importance of managing type 2 diabetes? Test your knowledge by taking this quiz. Who knows? You may learn something that can help you be a better caregiver.

     

    Hey, you did great!

    Congrats! You have answered most of the questions right! Continue to encourage the person you care for to ask his or her health care team more about type 2 diabetes. Help the patient learn as much as possible about his or her condition. The information on this site includes tools and information which may be helpful.

    There’s always more to learn.

    Consider making an appointment with the health care team of the person you are caring for or go with him or her to see a certified diabetes educator. See if there is a diabetes education class in your area. The more you learn, the more you will be able to help the person you care for.

    Results

    0Correct
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  • Taking Care
    of You

    Are you caring for someone with type 2 diabetes? Do you also take time to care for yourself? See why it may matter.

     how to avoid caregiver burnout

    Why is self-care important?

    Caring for someone with type 2 diabetes is not an easy job. And you, as the caregiver, may put your own needs last. Over time, this can lead to caregiver burnout.


    What exactly is caregiver burnout?

    It’s the mental, physical, and emotional fatigue you may feel when caring for someone with a chronic health problem. With burnout, you can feel tense, depressed, or isolated. You may also get sick more often.

  • Taking Care
    of You

    Are you caring for someone with type 2 diabetes? Do you also take time to care for yourself? See why it may matter.

     how to avoid caregiver burnout

    What are some ways to beat burnout?

    Make time for you.
    Set aside some part of the day or week for you. Do something you love. Maybe
    that’s playing the guitar or gardening. This can return a sense of normalcy
    to your life.

    Be more physically active.
    Engaging in physical activity can help maintain your health. It can be as simple as taking a walk around the block or the local mall.

  • Taking Care
    of You

    Are you caring for someone with type 2 diabetes? Do you also take time to care for yourself? See why it may matter.

     how to avoid caregiver burnout

    What are some ways to beat burnout?

    Get out and about each day.
    Visit a friend or take a moment to step outside. You may be surprised at how a
    short break from your duties can change your perspective.

    Ask for help if you need it.
    When you start to feel that you just can’t deal, ask for help. Everyone needs a
    break, including you!

Resources

Need some tips on ways to support your family member or friend? Check out this helpful downloadable resource.

 

Caring for someone with type 2 diabetes.

Learn more about ways to help provide type 2 diabetes care and the coping skills that go along with it.


 

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