Supporting a loved one: part 4 – supporting a friend

As part of Diabetes Awareness Month, we’re been running a series on how you can support your loved ones to manage their diabetes.

Previously in the series we’ve looked at how you can support a parent, child and partner. In the final part we’re going to look at how you can support a friend with diabetes.

Hearing that a friend has diabetes can be a worrying experience and it can often be difficult to know what to say. You might be wondering what you can do to help and will want to know how best you can support them.

Therefore, we’ve put together some suggestions which you may find helpful:

  • Ask questions

You might feel like you’re being nosy by asking your friend about their diabetes or you might worry that they don’t want to talk about it. More than likely your friend will be happy that you’ve taken an interest and it might help them to be more open about it. Take this as an opportunity to ask them what support they need and the signs you should look for, should your friend experience high or low blood sugars. It may also help to dispel any misconceptions or confusion you have about diabetes.

  • Support their management plan

Your friend will more than likely be following a specific plan to manage their diabetes. This may involve them following a diet plan, taking part in regular exercise or testing their blood sugars at certain times of the day. Having an understanding of their management plan can often help them to feel more supported. For example, if you know your friend is managing their diabetes through low carb you could consider inviting them over for a low carb-friendly meal. Your friend will likely appreciate the support.

  • Offer to attend appointments

Your friend may prefer to attend appointments on their own but it’s often a good idea to let them know the offer is there for you to accompany them. Having a friend there for support is likely to help ease their worries and put their mind at rest. This can also apply for if your friend is considering going to a support group for the first time. Having a friend to accompany them could help to give their confidence a boost.

  • Consider a diabetes-related gift

With Christmas around the corner, November is the time when many people start to think about gifts they can buy their loved ones. You might want to consider buying your friend a gift that fits within their diabetes management plan. Some 70% dark chocolate might even go down a treat!

  • Just listen

Having diabetes can be stressful and frustrating and sometimes your friend may just need someone to vent to. Reminding them that you’re there for them to talk to can help them to feel less alone. Even asking them how their day has gone is a good way to initiate conversation, your friend will likely appreciate you checking in.

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About the author

Meg Knight

Meg is a Behaviour Change Mentor for diabetes.co.uk. She is passionate about supporting individuals to improve their mental health and wellbeing through making lifestyle changes. Meg graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and is currently studying for an MSc in Clinical & Health Psychology. In her spare time she enjoys live music events and experimenting with low carb cooking.

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