Thanks for a month’s worth of information. But now, how can I use this information to help my friends and family members with diabetes and not feel like I’m being too intrusive? (In other words, how can I not be a “that guy” to people with diabetes?)
So glad you asked! Here’s a summary of some tips offered by William Polonsky, Ph.D., a psychologist who specializes in treating people with diabetes (full article below).
- Recognize that managing diabetes is a lot of work; it will help you be more empathetic toward that person. That person might also be coping with pain or other chronic conditions that make it hard to manage self care activities, and the diabetes is just that much more to cope with.
- Do not offer unsolicited advice about nutrition (“Should you be eating that?”) and other aspects of diabetes care. Treat adults like adults who are capable of making their own informed choices—including the choice to eat high carbohydrate foods sometimes. If they are Type 1, chances are they have thought long and hard about how much insulin they need to take to compensate for the pecan pie or whatever it is they are eating.
- Do offer to join in when someone is making healthy lifestyle choices. Bring healthy food to share at work instead of the high carbohydrate leftovers from your pantry.
- Don’t share horror stories about other people you know with diabetes (unless they ask, of course). Diabetes is scary enough, and hearing about your dead grandmother or your amputee aunt isn’t going to help make it any less scarier.
- Do simply ask “how can I help you?” Maybe they’ll give a suggestion, or maybe they’ll tell you they are fine.
- Don’t look horrified when the other person checks their glucose or uses insulin. They are just using a set of tools to stay healthy—it’s not much different that using a fork to eat or a wheelchair to move around in.
- Do offer a supportive environment, particularly for food choices. Throwing a dinner party? At least have them look over the proposed menu.
- Don’t give thoughtless reassurances. If you haven’t been through it, you probably don’t want to say “It can’t be that hard….”
- Don’t peek at or comment on blood sugar numbers without asking. Those numbers are private and an extension of a person’s body. Don’t invade their privacy.
- Do offer loving encouragement—sometimes the other person just likes knowing you care.
Full article: Here
More humor about what NOT to say to a person with diabetes: