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How do you help someone who won't help themself, especially when he or she is an adult?
Let's face it, diabetes isn't an easy disease to have or manage. It can be frustrating and takes work. On top of that, everyone seems to have an opinion about diabetes, whether it's valid or not.
As a family member or friend of someone with diabetes, you may see your loved one struggle with diabetes management. And some people with diabetes tend to minimize or ignore their diabetes. Burnout can occur from years of managing the condition. But, as William Polonsky, Ph.D., author of the book, Diabetes Burnout, says, "Ignoring something bad that is happening to you makes perfect sense only if there is really nothing you can do about it." That's part of why watching a family member or partner do little or nothing to keep his or her diabetes under control can be so heartbreaking.
Still, if you're a family member, friend or partner of someone with diabetes, it's important to remember whose diabetes it is and respect boundaries. Nagging, being a watchdog, extracting promises and manipulating someone to do what you want them to do doesn't work.
So what should you do? Dr. Polonsky offers the following advice:
In addition, it may be useful to:
The bottom line is to take care of yourself and find your own support system. Respect your loved one's wishes and show them you care. Hopefully your loved one will discover that he or she isn't powerless and can do something to cope with and control his or her diabetes.
Have a great week.
Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N.
Peggy Moreland, R.N.
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My nephew is 12 and was diagnosed 2 years ago. He eats lots of sweets, drinks sugar loaded soda, etc. His parents say he can eat whatever he wants and adjust his insulin accordingly. After spending the weekend with them I am really concerned! He didn't take his long acting insulin Friday night, woke up ate cookie crisp cereal, drank Ale8, and tested "high". His mom said it would take years of neglect for him to have any adverse effects. I don't understand. I thought he should be eating a well balanced diet and he could have sweets on occasion. Its not unusual for him to take 16-22 units. Should I be concerned?
I am the significant other of a man who is showing every classic symptom of having diabetes. Since he has no insurance I cannot convince him to see a doctor. My former husband was diagnosed with diabetes but refused to be responsible for his own treatment or lifestyle choices. It is very difficult for me to not draw parallels between them. I have been trying to find reliable information for my boyfriend so that maybe, if I am lucky, he will absorb the seriousness of this disease and seek help. I tested his sugar level using a borrowed meter and it was over 350. I know I cannot nag, but I am so afraid to lose him
My husband, aged 76, is the diabetic. We now have to take the meal planning especially seriously because the numbers are getting higher and higher and he was just in the hospital with a tick related illness. I feel at a loss -- I feel that I could control all of his other medical issues rather easily with diet modifications, but THIS issue is very hard for me to help with. He loves to snack and after a week of really watching, I'm already nearing the "burn out" stage. Oh do I feel bad complaining. What I would like are menus to follow. I can't seem to get the hang of exchanges and carb equivalents. We DO go to the nutritionist for lessons and she explains and explains, but I feel like I don't know what is going on. Either denial or age -- something is very wrong. Sorry to be complaining. The blog is very helpful as are the comments. Makes me feel less alone. Best of luck to everyone out there. This disease is a real bummer, no matter how many smiles are on the advertisements -- just my opinion. I'll continue a search of the Internet for menus to use.
All the things posted here are very true, the main thing is to get educated about this disease. Read all that you can so you will be better informed. Do not depend on what people "say" about this disease. So many people have opinions about it but are not educated. This is one disease that we can control, it is manageable.
My wife is diabetic... your words mean a lot to me and really make sense. I can see how being a nag or a know-it-all is so counter productive... I will try to not assume what she is thinking and listen more.
Thank You Nancy!
I am the one with diabetes and also an RN. My husband is my caretaker because of other health issues that have nothing to do with diabetes. He does the cooking and I am very fortunate that he cooks according to what I can eat. He has had a triple bypass so diet is important to him alsol
My wife has diabetese for 12 years. She is controlling with pills but does not go for blood test and consequently we do not know current condition. As a husband I have limitations. She last tested in Sept 12 when it was normal. How can I help her?
My 25 yr old son just went from pills to nightly insulin shots. He is active, but not very good about diet and other meds. I'm extremely concerned because, at his age, he isn't feeling any consequences of his disease. My daughter in law does what she can with meals and monitoring, but with 2 young children, there are temptations at home sometimes in snack selection. I don't want to nag, as he is aware of the possible health risks, but is there anything else I can do? I've even gone so far as to tell him I don't want to see him walk his daughter down the aisle with prosthetic legs, but that didn't help. Thanks for your time!
Audrey, To help get your blood glucose under control you need to learn the tools to help control it. Ask your provider to set up an appointment for you to meet with a dietitian and diabetes educator. The diabetes educator can teach you dose adjustment of your insulin program. The dietitian will instruct you on balancing your meal plan.
I have diabetes n just found out a month ago that it have damage the nerves in my feets n leg. But I never had any symptoms of the disease until I went to the Dr for my checkup. And at that moment I was put on insulin because my sugar was very high and it still uncontrollable. What can I do to get it under control?
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