Information for Care Partners
If you are helping someone you love manage diabetes, you are a care partner. Why do we say care partners? Because that’s the name that other care providers told us felt right. They said that to them, care partner means we’re in this together.
So what does it mean to be a care partner? It can mean helping your loved one with daily needs, such as:
- Picking up medicines
- Reminding them to take their medicines
- Going to visit the health care provider
- Preparing meals
It can also mean listening to your loved one when he or she needs emotional support and helping him or her cope with feelings. Sometimes, just having someone to talk to can be what people living with diabetes need most.
How you can help
The more you know about diabetes, the more you can help. Review or download our Supporting someone with diabetes booklet to find information and resources that can help you and your loved one better understand diabetes and help you understand how to take care of you.
What does a care plan include and what can I do?
- A meal plan: Helping your loved one learn how to balance what, when, and how much to eat can help him or her make smarter choices. Eating the way your loved one does can help you be healthier too! Start small. Try to make 1 or 2 changes at first, like eating brown rice instead of white.
- A plan for being active: It can be hard to fit an activity plan into a daily routine. You can help your loved one with these 3 steps:
Step 1: Talk to his or her health care provider before getting started
Step 2: Help your loved one choose an activity. Start small, maybe by going for a walk every day after dinner
Step 3: Set a goal
Be sure your loved one speaks with his or her health care provider before starting an activity plan.
- A plan for taking medicines: If your loved one starts medicine, you can help him or her stick to the treatment plan as prescribed by the health care provider. There are different treatments for diabetes, and learning about them is another way to get more involved.
Learn more about Novo Nordisk medicine options.
- A plan for checking blood sugar: You can encourage your loved one to track his or her blood sugar levels on a regular basis to help identify patterns. Recording numbers can help the health care provider know how well the treatment plan is working.
Using the online Blood Sugar Tracker is one way to get in the habit of tracking numbers. It’s also important to know the signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and what to do about them. You may need to act quickly to help your loved one treat an episode of low or high blood sugar, so it helps to be prepared.
To find out more about what makes a diabetes care plan, and how you can better support your loved one, download the Understanding the Diabetes Care Plan—for the care partner fact sheet.
Taking care of yourself
If you are caring for someone with diabetes, you are not alone. Millions of people have diabetes and rely on friends and family for support. Unfortunately, care partners may put their own needs aside. But to take good care of others, you need to take good care of you.
How being a care partner may affect you
As a care partner, you may think of yourself as "the healthy one." But providing support for someone else can be hard on you. You may have trouble:
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating well
- Being active
- Finding time to make medical appointments for yourself
Just like your loved one has a care plan, you should also have one to take care of you. Here are some things you should consider when making your plan.
A plan for taking care of you
Manage stress: There is a lot you can do to deal with stress. Make note of the things that cause you stress. The earlier you can identify them, the sooner you can take action.
Keep up with your health: Don’t forget about yourself. It’s important that you have a plan for keeping up with your health. Be sure to make and keep appointments with your health care provider.
Make time for yourself: Try making time in the day to do something that you love like reading a book or working on a hobby. This is your time so try not to let anything interrupt it.
Talk with your loved one: Take time out each day to talk to each other about how you both are feeling and coping.
Ask for help: You are not alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends or find a support group. At a support group, you can share your feelings about being a care partner. And you can help others by listening to their feelings. You can also share tips that have worked for you. The Diabetes Health Coach is a great resource for you and your loved one. It contains a wide range of topics to help you better navigate diabetes care.
To find more tips on how to create a care plan for taking care of yourself, download the Taking care of you: A plan for the diabetes care partner fact sheet. It has additional information and tips on how to help:
- Manage stress,
frustrationand anger, guilt and loneliness
- Take care of yourself
- Make time for yourself
- Find support
Resources for Care Partners