Creating a Circle of Support
No one can go it alone. Whether you are living with diabetes or you’re a caregiver, it’s important to have a few options for emotional support. Knowing who to turn to with specific questions will make life easier.
Find other people living with diabetes
Few things are more comforting than talking with someone who understands you when you are living with diabetes, or if you are facing a type 1 or type 2 diagnosis. If you don’t already have a friend or a family member living with diabetes who can fill this role, seek out a diabetes support group near you. What do you have to lose? If you don’t like one group, look for another one until it clicks. Another great way to find others who support people with diabetes is to volunteer or join fundraising events of diabetes non-for-profit groups.
Join the DOC
The DOC is the Diabetes Online Community, a deep well of inspiration and support, all online. There are dozens of options: message boards, private groups, social media and blogs… People living with diabetes are everywhere online. You can look for private groups on social media sites like Facebook. Furthermore, some popular message boards live at TuDiabetes and Children with Diabetes.
Know your healthcare team
You’ve worked with your healthcare providers to lay out a plan for managing your diabetes, so don’t let all that hard work go unused. Make (and keep) regular appointments with your primary physician and find someone like a nurse or a diabetes educator you can contact whenever you have questions about your health.
Enlist your child’s school
If your child is living with diabetes, build a team of caretakers for your own peace of mind. Ask the principal to arrange a meeting between you and anyone who needs to understand your child’s diabetes needs—office workers, the school nurse, all teachers, coaches, and even transportation or field trip chaperones. The Kids and Diabetes in Schools (KiDS) project is a valuable resource for creating a supportive environment at school. Download the information pack, which is divided into sections for teachers, parents of children living with diabetes and parents in general. Free and available in 8 languages, it can be used with any educational session you arrange with your school. The Canadian Diabetes Association also has a document about rights of kids living with diabetes in school in Canada.
Additionally, get a clear understanding from your doctor about how the school day should work properly and make sure that the school understands your child’s daily treatment needs. The school nurse is your best friend. They’ll be your biggest asset when it comes to teaching other staff at the school about how to care for your child. Above all, don’t get discouraged. Learning curves are high for the first few weeks, and that’s okay.
Educate your family and friends
One of the tasks that comes with living with diabetes is educating the people around you who aren’t living with it. You may feel like it’s not working, but keep educating, always speak up, and be clear about what really helps you (and what doesn’t). In time, everyone will be on the same page. And if there’s ever an emergency, they’ll know what to do.
Canadian Diabetes Association (n.d). Medication Management. Retrieved from: https://www.diabetes.ca/en-CA/about-diabetes/medication-management. Accessed September 18 2020.
Children with Diabetes (2019). Forums. Retrieved from: http://forums.childrenwithdiabetes.com/. Accessed September 18 2020.
Diabetes Canada (n.d). Local programs & events. Retrieved from: https://www.diabetes.ca/en-CA/get-involved/local-programs---events?Regio.... Accessed September 18 2020.
Diabetes Canada (n.d). Guidelines for the care of Students living with Diabetes at School. Retrieved from: https://www.diabetes.ca/DiabetesCanadaWebsite/media/Learn-About-Diabetes/Your%20Rights/Diabetes_Canada_KWDIS_Guidelines-(ENG).pdf. Accessed September 18 2020.
Diabetes Canada (n.d). Kids with diabetes in school. Retrieved from: https://www.diabetes.ca/en-CA/learn-about-diabetes/your-rights/kids-with.... Accessed September 18 2020.
Joslin Diabetes Center (n.d). Patient care. Retrieved from: https://www.joslin.org/patient-care. Accessed September 18 2020.
Kids and Diabetes in School (n.d). Resources. Retrieved from: https://kids.idf.org/. Accessed September 18 2020.
TuDiabetes (n.d). Guidelines. Retrieved from: https://tudiabetes.org/forum-guidelines/. Accessed September 18 2020.
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