living with diabetes

Need To Talk?

If you’re supporting someone with diabetes we know it can be tough. One way to show support is to offer to go along to diabetes healthcare appointments. This is a great way to show support and help someone remember what’s been said, particularly if they’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes, for example.

It’s important for everyone providing support or looking after someone with diabetes to look after their own wellbeing too. When life is busy and you’re thinking about others and juggling lots of other things, it can be easy to forget about yourself.

It can be easy to get into the habit of supporting someone with diabetes alone. But it’s good to ask other friends and family for help sometimes so you can have time for yourself. Perhaps think if there are any specific tasks you could ask them to help out with. It can be stressful supporting someone with diabetes, particularly if they have other health conditions too. You often don’t get a holiday from it either. If someone isn’t looking after themselves and won’t accept any help from you or their healthcare team, there may not be much you can do to help them. Instead, focus on getting support for yourself.

Practical tips

  • Shopping – If the person you’re supporting wants to buy and eat ready meals, help them look for the supermarket’s own brand ‘healthier range’. A diet high in sugar and salt for someone living with diabetes is likely to cause dehydration. So bear this in mind if you’re helping someone shop.
  • Keep Active – Moving more is good for everyone but has extra benefits for people with diabetes. Taking up an activity together is one way to support them.
  • Treat Hypos – Some people with diabetes have hypos. A hypo is when someone’s blood sugar goes too low (below 4mmol/l). Hypos are more likely to affect people who use insulin or take a tablet called a sulphonylurea. To treat the hypo, you’ll need to give them something sugary to eat or drink straightaway (no diet products).


When people find out they have diabetes, it can take them a while to accept it and start making changes. This means they may not welcome support at the start. The way people react to their diabetes can be very different. Some people with diabetes may not like to talk about any worries they have as they may not like to make a fuss. Letting them know you’re there for them and will listen to their concerns when they are ready is a big help. Asking someone ‘how they feel’ or if they want to talk about something, can be a useful place to start. Most of the time people will prefer you to listen and let them vent rather than offering advice.

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