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This section is for under 18's and contains a great interactive tool to help you and your family learn more about diabetes.Managing Diabetes
- The interactive web tool for children and families. It may be helpful to look at this section with your parents at first.
When a family member or loved one develops diabetes, it affects the entire family. You want to do all you can to help your loved one manage his or her diabetes. The more you know about the disease, the more you can provide understanding and support.
Here you can learn about the physical, emotional and social impact that diabetes has on a child, teen or adult.
Caregivers play a key role in their family member's diabetes management. You may even understand the needs of your loved ones as much as or more than they do. This section aims to give you the knowledge to gain even more confidence in your role.
A diagnosis of diabetes should not diminish your child’s quality of life. You and your child will have additional responsibilities over the years, but the added self-discipline may work in your child's favour.
As a parent of an infant or toddler newly diagnosed with diabetes, your child’s diagnosis may affect you much more than it does your child. After all, your child is fully dependent upon you for all care, not just diabetes treatments. Even as your child becomes more independent, diabetes may still be a very small part of their world. Children live in the moment. The blood glucose test or injection that was so upsetting this morning may have long since been forgotten.
For your own peace of mind, as well as your child's health, take advantage of every possible opportunity to educate yourself. Get involved in a local support group, where you can get to know other families facing the exact same issues everyday. Be sure to take care of yourself. Diabetes is a day-by-day, sometimes hour-by-hour responsibility—if you're not careful, you can easily tire yourself out.
Talking With Your Child
Only you will know how much information to provide your child and when they will be ready to understand more. For a while, it may be enough for them to know that they have too much sugar in their blood and need insulin to let it out.
Still, it is a good idea to start talking about diabetes and your feelings early. Focus on the facts about blood glucose results and injections—even babies are attuned to the way we say things, which can reveal a lot more than the actual words we use.
Tips for Caring for Young Children
It is no secret that the teenage years can be difficult. Adding the responsibility of diabetes self-care can present its own challenges. This is an important time for the whole family—your teenager is eager to achieve independence in the world, but they still need your guidance and support.
It is important to understand that this condition can affect anyone at any age. Having diabetes means that you and your child will have additional responsibilities over the years, but that does not and should not diminish your child's quality of life. In fact, the added self-discipline may work in your child's favour.
Even though diabetes can be managed, it is a disease with potentially harmful immediate and long-term complications. It is important that your teenager understands that positive steps today may help make a significant difference in their health as they get older. This can be tough for teenagers to relate to—they may feel like they are living within strict limits and can not see the long term benefits.
To ensure that your child adopts the best possible self-care practices, take advantage of opportunities to educate the whole family. Encourage your teenager to get involved with other people with diabetes his or her own age—and find a parents' group for yourself.
Talking With Your Teenager
As this is an especially sensitive time, you cannot begin to guess what they are thinking, and you cannot expect them to know what is on your mind, so make sure you take every opportunity to talk openly about what is going on in their lives.
This is also the time to start talking to your son or daughter like an adult. You cannot just tell them what to do anymore—you have to negotiate rules and involve them in decisions about their self-care.
Tips for Caring for Teenager
Taking responsibility for the care of a parent, spouse or friend is a tremendously generous decision—one that more and more people are faced with each year. Care-giving relationships can be both rewarding and stressful as you learn how to help someone manage diabetes, adapt to other medical conditions and still find time for your own needs. As a caregiver, an already busy schedule might become even busier. You cannot do everything, but you want to feel you are doing your best.
Try starting with a written plan. Talk to a healthcare professional about the things the person you are caring for will need. Think about everything, from help with grocery shopping and transportation to special equipment, administering medication and daily personal care. Then determine who will be responsible for providing these things—professionals, you, the caregiver, or willing family members and friends.
Even though diabetes can be managed, people often feel exhausted by the need to continually watch what they eat, prick their fingertips for blood tests and get enough physical activity. As a person gets older, these demands can be even harder to keep up with, especially if they are adjusting to other medical complications, such as impaired vision, decreased mobility or digestive problems.
Remember that it may be difficult for a person who is getting older to accept the fact that he or she may need help. No one wants to feel like they are losing their independence. Do your best to continue talking to your parent or spouse as a mature adult, and keep them as involved as possible in decisions about their self-care. The more self-reliant they remain, the more in-charge they will feel over their lives, and also the more energy you will have left over for you.
Tips for Caring for Adults
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