When executing a medical plan to manage the diabetes, there is always a team player whose work may go unnoticed or unacknowledged. We are referring to the person who assists and helps the diabetic patient comply with his treatment to enjoy the healthiest live possible. This lack of recognition to caregivers is a bit unjust since the caregiver has to demonstrate strength, great spirit, and commitment to provide assistance to the diabetic person. Usually, they perform their duties at expenses of their own health. Caregivers can suffer from emotional distress due to inadequate social support, which can be a serious condition similar to lack of exercise, hypertension, obesity, or high cholesterol levels.
The diabetes caregiver should know the facts about diabetes, including the difference between 1 and 2 diabetes, what insulin is and how important it is for patient’s survival. A basic understanding about insulin metabolism would make the caregiver realize the benefits of complex carbohydrates for diabetes management.
The caregiver would in a better position to help the patient if he learn how to calculate the right amount of insulin needed in case there is an episode of low blood sugar or the reverse, if blood sugar levels are too high. Since injecting insulin is an essential part of the daily regime for many diabetics, in particular for those with type 1 diabetes, the caregiver should learn how to give insulin shots until the newly diagnosed patient can do it by himself.
Diabetes caregivers must be aware that managing diabetes is a full time job that can be very demanding. People with diabetes did not ask for it; they have no appreciation for it but refusing it, is not an option. Caregiver’s role includes preparing a healthy meal plan (what, when, and how much food), testing blood sugar, supervising the exercise program, coping with stress, and much more. While performing his job he must be courteous and patient avoiding expressions like “it could have been even worse…you could have had cancer.” This will not make the patient feels any better and he will send the message that having diabetes is not a big deal when you know quite well that it is.
The caregiver should motivate and cheer up the patient and ask them about his needs without imposing himself. It is very valuable and useful to the patient to know that you really care and are willing to ease the changes in life-style. Not being alone while you are trying to modify your eating habits or start exercising can be a powerful motivator.
On the other hand, although taking care of diabetic people can be rewarding, caregivers have to watch for signs of being stressed out due to the responsibilities they have to assume with the patients.
Being a voluntary caregiver for a person with diabetes may be a real challenge but also a very rewarding one. If the caregiver maintains a positive attitude and feels that every day he makes a difference in someone’s life, every body will appreciate his contributions and acknowledge his work!