Supportive family members can help you manage your type 2 diabetes – and may even see their own health benefit as they help you make positive lifestyle changes.
By Everyday Health Editors
When you got your type 2 diabetes diagnosis, your family got a diagnosis, too — they are now the spouse, children, and parents of someone with a chronic condition. And that means their lives are going to change, as well. They will want to help you manage your diabetes and be there for you as you create your care plan and start changing your daily routines.
Your family and friends may be fearful about how your type 2 diabetes is going to affect you. Your spouse and your kids will worry about whether you are going to be all right. And they will feel anxious about how the changes in your life and routine will affect them as well.
Luckily, many of the changes you need to make — especially around food and exercise — can make your family healthier, too. Most Americans need to eat more healthfully and get more exercise. If your spouse and kids join you in undertaking healthy changes, they’ll feel better, too.
Here are some ways you and your loved ones can work together to manage type 2 diabetes as a team:
1 . Help your family understand factors that contribute to diabetes and how it’s managed and treated.
2 . Take them to meet your doctor or diabetes educator.
3 . Explain the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar as well as how they can help if you experience it.
4 . Describe how your eating schedule may be different, and share what you’re learning about proper portion sizes and better eating.
5 . If you need to test your blood sugar often or take medication or insulin on a regular basis, help them get familiar with the process and your schedule.
6 . Tell your family members about how their encouragement motivates you and is more helpful than if they nitpick your diet and exercise choices.
7 . Try new healthy foods or recipes together.
8 . Find activities you can enjoy together that get you moving.
Type 2 Diabetes Support for Your Family
Even so, remember that life with someone who is managing a chronic condition, particularly in the early days after a diagnosis, can be pretty stressful. There are many kinds of support available for the families of people with diabetes. A talk with your diabetes educator can be a good place to start identifying these resources. A visit to the American Diabetes Association can be useful too.