How to Help a Loved One Adjust to a New Diabetes Diagnosis
Adjusting to a medical diagnosis that affects lifestyle choices and one’s sense of self can be overwhelming at first.
If someone you care about has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, you will naturally want to help them accept and make necessary changes. Knowing what to expect and about proven ways to assist your loved one can make the adjustment easier for you.
Feelings and Attitudes
Feelings. As you and your loved one adjust to the diabetes diagnosis, you may both experience a cascade of feelings including sadness, grief, anger, fear, anxiety, denial or emotional numbness. Acknowledge and accept the feelings, whatever they might be, since there is no right or wrong way to feel. Balance them by reminding yourself that diabetes management is typically overwhelming at first, but eventually becomes part of the daily routine.
Be in the Know. Help your loved one by learning about diabetes. This is important whether you are caring for a child with the diagnosis or helping an adult learn to manage it. Asking the doctor for educational materials and visiting the American Diabetes Association’s or Mayo Clinic’s websites (diabetes.org, mayoclinic.org) are good ways to get your education started.
The Tortoise Wins the Race. A diagnosis such as diabetes can send shock waves through a family. Though there may be a sense of urgency to learn and change everything right away, give yourself and others time to process thoughts and feelings, and talk about them. People tend to adjust to unwanted change more readily when feelings and concerns are shared with others.
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