Caring for someone with diabetes

My partner has diabetes. How will this affect our relationship?

Your partner may want you to be closely involved with his or her diabetes care, or may want to manage it alone. Discuss with your partner the type of support he or she needs and wants. On a practical level, it is useful to know what to do if your partner has a hypoglycemic attack (if insulin-stimulating pills or insulin are sued) or what to do if he or she becomes very ill.

My parents live in an assisted living facility. Although they are well, I worry about them having hypoglycemic attacks. How can I make sure they are safe?

Checking what your parents know about hypoglycemic attacks and how to treat themselves and each other will help reassure you. If they are unsure of what to do in the event of a hypoglycemic attack, get information for them that might help. Your parents may find that eating regularly is sufficient to prevent hypoglycemic attacks most of the time. Having remedies readily available and checking their blood glucose levels regularly will prepare them if a hypoglycemic attack does happen. If your parents start to have hypoglycemic attacks regularly, they may need a change of medication.

I care full-time for my husband who has diabetes and heart disease. Can I get any help?

Caring for someone fulltime can be physically and emotionally demanding – help might be available from friends, family, health professionals, volunteer organizations, and social workers. There might also be a caregivers’ support group in your area that you may find helpful to contact.

Our 18-year-old son has diabetes and learning difficulties. How can we help him look after his diabetes?

You may find that your son is more anxious to do some things than others, and he may behave responsibly on one day but not on the next. Forcing him to look after his diabetes when he isn’t ready might cause a lot of unnecessary stress for all the family. On the other hand, doing everything for him might feel like a lot of hard work. You might strike a balance by encouraging your son to do the things that he is willing and able to do (and always giving him plenty of praise when he does something well) and taking over his diabetes care when he is struggling.

My husband and son both have diabetes. My son is also obese. I’m fed up with making three different meals a day. What can I do?

The guidelines for eating healthily are the same for all three of you, but you may have different tastes in food. Rather than letting diabetes be the reason to prepare different foods, it might help you to discuss as a family the foods each of you like and how to include these. If your son needs to lose weight but your husband does not, you may be able to adjust the portion sizes of meals so that your son eats fewer calories than your husband.

My teenage daughter has just been diagnosed with diabetes, but doesn’t seem to accept it. What can I do?

Your daughter might have strong feelings about her diagnosis, ranging from denial to anger, resentment, and depression. She may also be feeling very self-conscious about her body if she is overweight. You might help your daughter by giving as much emotional support as you can, while also being firm and consistent in your approach to her diabetes care. If you are finding it difficult to communicate with her, your daughter might talk more easily with another member of the family, a friend, or a counselor.

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