Caring For Your Loved One With Diabetes

mother and daughter smiling

Whether it’s due to an illness, accident or just out of necessity of having to “look out for family,” many people – particularly in the Black community – become caregivers whether they feel prepared for the job or not. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, more than 65 million people in the US. are upaid family caregivers. The situation is all too common.

Transitioning into the role of caregiver can be challenging for all involved at times and when it comes to caring for a loved one with diabetes, there are a number of things to understand – from dietary restrictions and medications, to working with doctors and managing day-to-day task.

Caregivers are active partners when it comes to managing diabetes. The tips below can help you care for your loved one:

Consider meal plans.

Preparing a diabetes-friendly meal can be hard for some people with diabetes. Help your loved one make food choices that include a balanced mix of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Assist them with carefully measuring out their portion sizes, and have them go with you to talk to a nutritionist or dietician if their meals are leaving them hungry or unsatisfied.

Keep a travel checklist handy.

Your loved one may forget important supplies on overnight or vacation trips. Remind them or help them to pack:

  • Blood glucose meter
  • Test strips
  • Lancing device and lancets
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Pen needles
  • Levemir® FlexTouch®
  • Glucose tablets
  • Glucagon kit
  • Other diabetes medicine

Help communicate with health care providers.

Visits to a health care provider can be stressful for your loved one. When you go along you can help your loved one feel more at ease and make the appointment more productive.

Ask the health care provider to repeat anything that seems unclear to either of you. Remember beforehand to write down questions and concerns that you have about your loved one’s health problems or their treatment with Levemir®.

Gently remind your loved one to check his or her blood sugar from time to time and to take his or her diabetes medicine.

Stay active with your loved one. This may mean taking evening walks, engaging in sports, or finding other activities that you both enjoy. When you become active, that can encourage your loved one to do the same, especially if you’re staying fit together.

Carry glucose tablets when you go out. The tablets are available at most pharmacies and are inexpensive. It’s better to be prepared if your loved one has low blood sugar.

Recognize low blood sugar and be prepared to help. If your loved one starts becoming noticeably irritable, suddenly has cold, clammy skin, or starts shaking, he or she may be suffering from low blood sugar.

Have one of the following items on hand to give him or her to help raise blood sugar:

    • A glass of juice, regular (non-diet) soda, or another carbohydrate-containing drink
    • Glucose tablets or hard candies (not sugar free)
    • A spoonful of sugar

Have a glucagon kit available in case of emergencies. If low blood sugar is left untreated or not recognized, it can get bad very quickly. Your loved one could pass out or have a seizure. If that happens, he or she will need a glucagon injection or hospital treatment right away. Talk with your health care provider about getting and being trained on how to use an emergency glucagon kit

Encourage your loved one to wear a Medical Alert ID bracelet.These will let medical first-responders know that your loved one has diabetes and provide important contact information in the event of an emergency. Your loved one can also keep a Medical Alert card in a purse or wallet


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