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.