Has someone close to you recently been diagnosed with diabetes? About 7.5 percent of the Canadian population lives with Type 2 diabetes (with a projected 10 percent by 2020), so the chances that someone you care about lives with the condition is becoming more and more likely.
A diabetes diagnosis, while usually very manageable, often means the beginning of some very big life changes. This can be a scary and confusing time for many, and having to cope with the changes alone can seem very daunting.
Helping, or even joining in with their lifestyle changes, lends much-needed support. Here are some simple ways that you can assist:
The More You Know
Learning more about Diabetes is an important first step. Your loved one will need to be versed on the ins and outs of treatment and management. Being alone, however, with this knowledge can feel alienating. By having a better understanding of the condition, you’ll be more prepared to deal with heading off dangerous symptoms. You'll also know how to treat them if they arise. For example, recognizing the symptoms of a low blood sugar crash - often easier for a friend than it is for the person experiencing the attack - can be life-saving.
There are lots of amazing resources online to help learn about Diabetes and its management, including the Diabetes Canada website.
Work Towards Goals
Though Diabetes management eventually becomes a factor in everyday life, getting used to these new changes can be challenging. Selecting goals to work towards is often a good first step. Whether that goal is eliminating soda, increasing the intake of nutritional foods, losing weight or monitoring blood sugar levels on a regular basis - the more these activities become a pattern, the easier they will be to incorporate into the day-to-day.
Encourage your loved one to set goals for themselves. You can also check in on them, and celebrate (in a healthy way!) once those goals have been reached!
Join In The Change
Working towards a shared goal with a partner can make all the difference. There are a lot of common changes that those with and without Diabetes can make together. Being active is a great way to spend time together and work towards a positive intention of managing Diabetic symptoms. For both you and your loved one, light activity regulates blood glucose, blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. It’s a win for everyone!
Taking long walks, playing tennis or even taking the stairs more regularly is a challenge that you can both take on.
Lending your support post-diagnosis will show your loved one that you are an ally in their life-long management of diabetes. Not only can it strengthen your relationship, your encouragement can make a difference in their health and habits.
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