There are many things to consider when supporting your loved ones on their diabetes management journey. Telling them what they must and must not do is not always the most effective route. Instead, a loving and motivating force may be what they need to help them navigate through lifestyle changes.
People with strong support systems are often successful at sticking to their new lifestyle habits. As a caregiver, there are things you may do to help along the way, with proper information, planning and preparation.
Three pillars of good diabetes care
In the initial days after learning that your loved one is now living with diabetes, the amount of information you will both need to process may be a little overwhelming.
To start adjusting to this new lifestyle, let us look at the three pillars of good diabetes care for your loved one:
- Medication and tracking blood glucose
- Proper diet management
1. Medication and tracking blood glucose - After your loved one's diagnosis, it is important to ensure that they adhere to the recommended drug plan, regular exams, and frequent monitoring protocols recommended by the healthcare provider. You may also help by regularly scheduling medical check-ups to monitor their condition.
Additionally, as a caregiver, you may need to remind your loved one to check their blood sugar levels regularly. Your healthcare provider may show you how to assist them, if needed, with a finger-prick test that may be done at home with a home monitor kit. There are other alternative options available that involve Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) devices, such as Freestyle Libre, that may provide readings for up to 2 weeks with no finger pricking required.
2. Proper diet management - A balanced, low glycemic index (GI) diet is essential for managing type 2 diabetes. What your loved one eats directly impacts their blood sugar and insulin levels.
Here is how you may support your loved one:
- Help them follow the doctor's recommended meal plans.
- Encourage the consumption of high-fiber food such as whole grain cereals, breads or whole grain pasta.1
- Include vegetables in each meal to maintain proper nutrition.
- Consider diabetes-specific nutritional supplements like Glucerna, which helps support blood glucose management and has a low glycemic index (GI), which promotes a low and slow rise in blood glucose.2,3
3. Exercise - When it comes to controlling blood sugar levels and enhancing insulin efficiency, exercise may be just as important and effective as medication.
- Here is how you may assist your loved one in staying active:
- Help them start with simple exercises approved by healthcare providers, such as walking or yoga.
- Encourage them to slowly work up to energetic pursuits as recommended by their doctor.
- Focus on helping your loved one maintain a healthy weight
Patience is key
Give yourself and your loved ones some flexibility and patience to adjust. Keeping calm and collected not only helps you, but also your loved one. As with any new lifestyle change, it is all about progress and not perfection.
Build a support team
Aside from healthcare providers, reach out to other family members and close friends living with diabetes, or who know of others with diabetes. A good support team may give you a sense of solidarity and togetherness.
Remember to also take care of yourself
When caring for a loved one with diabetes, it is easy to prioritize their needs over your own. Remember, taking care of yourself is equally important. Seek assistance from other family members, close friends, or caregiving support groups and services.
The journey of supporting your loved one through diabetes management is a path paved with solidarity, care, patience, and knowledge. For further guidance and resources, visit Glucerna's website. Explore the range of Glucerna products on their Shopee and Lazada pages.
1. USDA. My Plate. What foods are in the Grains Group? Accessed June 19 2022
2. Glucerna Frequently Asked Questions.
3. Glycemic Index Foundation. Low GI Explained. Accessed May 2023.
1. American Diabetes Association. Giving support to those you love can make all the difference.
2. Glucerna Frequently Asked Questions.
3. American Diabetes Association. Get smart on carbs.
4. Mantachie Clinic. What caregivers need to know when caring about their diabetes patient.
5. American Diabetes Association. Caregivers: Managing diabetes is an uphill climb.
6. National Diabetes Services Scheme. An Australian Government Initiative. Caring for someone with diabetes. A family and friend fact sheet.
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