Helping a Loved One Cope With Diabetes
Does a diabetes caregiver need emotional support?
Studies show that being a caregiver for someone with diabetes can be very difficult. Caregivers often get "blamed" by the person for the diabetic condition. Or the person may lash out at you, and you may become the target of his or her anger over having the disease. There is also a fine line in caring for a loved one with diabetes, and trying to walk that line can cause stress. On one hand, you want to support the person and advise the person about the best choices in diet and lifestyle. On the other hand, you certainly don't want to intimidate or overwhelm the person so that he or she begins to resent you for interfering.
You may want to talk with a therapist or counselor if you're helping care for a loved one with diabetes. Find strong emotional support to help you cope with the daily ups and downs of caregiving.
Where can a loved one with diabetes get additional support?
Diabetes support groups are geared toward the unique needs of its members. They are especially important for those with diabetes. As a caregiver, it is in your best interest to get the patient involved in a support group.
Support groups can also provide you resources and ideas, as well as an outlet.
While support groups are not psychotherapy groups, they can provide a safe and accepting place for both your loved one and you to vent your frustrations. You can also share your stories and receive comfort and encouragement from others in similar situations.
In many groups, the latest methods of diabetes self-management and treatment are discussed. Members can give suggestions for ways to cope that you may not be aware of. You can find reassurance in the fact that "someone else knows what I am going through." You can also discuss your situation with other caregivers.
For more information on support groups in your area, check with your community center or ask a local hospital for meeting times. If you can't find a support group in your area, check with your local health care providers or call the American Diabetes Association.
What about online support for a loved one with diabetes?
For a great online resource for diabetes, be sure to check out the WebMD Diabetes Support Group. You can also find tremendous support by joining the conversation in message boards and blogs at WebMD's Diabetes Community. Here you'll find online support groups for type 1 and type 2 diabetes and related discussions on dieting, weight loss, heart disease, and smoking cessation. You can also stay up-to-date on the latest diabetes research and technology, as well as view diabetes videos.