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Caring for Others

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 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. We hope this area of the site will give you the knowledge to gain even more confidence in your role.

Caring for Children

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 favor.

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 begins walking and talking, diabetes will be a very small part of their world. Children live in the moment. The blood sugar test or injection that was so upsetting this morning has 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 every day. 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 sugar 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

  • Listen closely to your child. Are there things he or she doesn't quite understand?
  • Choose words carefully. Do not call blood sugars or blood sugar readings "good" or "bad,"; instead use “high,” “low,” and “normal.”
  • Congratulate your child on being courageous when the time comes to test or inject.
  • Make testing and injecting times warm and loving. A cuddle after a blood sugar test can go a long way.
  • Let the child participate by choosing a finger for testing, or rubbing the spot after testing.
  • Rotate injection sites regularly. Ideally, you should not inject the same site more than once every 30 days.
  • Get everything ready before the test. Make the process quick and calm. The less upset you get about it, the less upset your child will be, too.
  • Work with your healthcare professional to outline an eating, testing, and medication plan tailored to your child.


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