Communicating With A Loved One Who Isn't Managing Their Diabetes

It is concerning when a loved one is not managing their diabetes well.

Out of caring and frustration, we may apply pressure, criticism or guilt to change their behavior even when we know these tactics will not work.

What can help is communicating in an autonomy-supportive manner. By focusing on your loved one’s feelings, needs and goals, you can encourage successful diabetes management without attacking or annoying them.

Autonomy-Supportive Communication

Encouraging a person’s autonomy requires you to understand their viewpoint and nurture their self-motivation. This is done by:

  1. Showing that you understand and empathize with their point of view. For instance,“I realize it’s difficult going to parties where people enjoy food and drink not on your diet plan.”
  2. Giving them the rationale for any advice offered. For instance: “I recall the doctor said if your evening glucose readings were consistently high you might need your insulin dose changed. I think we should give the doc a call.”
  3. Showing concern. For instance:“You seem a bit scattered today, like you're having trouble focusing. I’m concerned about you.”
  4. Offering options whenever possible. For instance,“What do you think, should we take our walk this morning or wait until this afternoon?”
  5. Asking about their experience of the illness and acquiring an accurate understanding of their feelings and capabilities. For instance:“What does an insulin shot feel like? Has it become easier, or does it still make you anxious?” or, “What is the most difficult part of managing diabetes?”
  6. Discussing the illness openly, and frankly addressing conflicts related to diabetes care. For instance: “Yesterday was the second time in a month we had to come home early because you forgot your insulin. We need to come up with a plan so it doesn’t happen again. I have a couple ideas, but what do you think would help?”
  7. Focusing on successes. For instance: “Three months ago you thought you’d never get the hang of managing your blood sugar. Now you’ve lost seven pounds and we’re walking a mile three times a week!”
  8. Planning and enjoying fun activities together. For instance: “It’s been a while since the family spent a day at the beach. How about if we drive there this weekend?”

Ultimately, it is the person with diabetes who must choose to manage their symptoms well. By focusing on autonomy support, you help yourself avoid the burden of shouldering too much responsibility and cultivate your loved one's self-confidence.

If supportive efforts are not enough to motivate this person, enlist the aid of their doctor or diabetes care team.

Source: California Healthcare Foundation
Photo credit: Renee Barron / flickr creative commons

Get Free Diabetic Supplies

For a limited time only, you can reduce diabetic supplies costs by more than 90%. Enrolling just take a few minutes. Fill out the form, speak to a representative and get diabetic supplies delivered to your door at little or no cost. Also, you will get a free Diabetes Meal Plan from a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator.

Enter your information below to see if you qualify.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Matcha tea is a rich, creamy, full-bodied beverage with amazing nutritional properties that address several diabetes health concerns. The trace...

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...

It would be interesting to know how many people with diabetes actually use blood glucose control solutions to regularly check the accuracy of...

A mood is an internal state or condition of feeling. It colors everything else we experience, much like colored sunglasses add a tint to...

More Articles

Those who have not yet been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can greatly reduce their susceptibility by doing one key...

With such a marked increase in the number of new diabetes cases, more people are wondering if type 1 diabetes...

Although diabetes is common, many people who have been diagnosed do not completely understand how it develops or whether it is hereditary....

It would be interesting to know how many people with diabetes actually use blood glucose control solutions to regularly check the accuracy of...

Any sweetener you use to replace table sugar is a sugar substitute. One type of sugar substitute is artificial sweetener. Three other types...

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Diabetes is a health condition that disrupts the body’s normal production of insulin. Currently, more than one million Americans are diagnosed...

The HbA1c blood test, more commonly known as the A1C, is both a very useful and a very cool calculation of your average blood glucose levels over...

A mood is an internal state or condition of feeling. It colors everything else we experience, much like colored sunglasses add a tint to...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your...

A diabetes meal plan is a guide indicating what types of foods, and how much of them, people should eat at meal and snack time. Following a meal...

Muscle cramps, or spasms, are involuntary contractions (shortening) of our skeletal muscles. Cramps can occur at any time but often wake people...

Because it is Peripheral Neuropathy Awareness Week (May 7-13), this article is about a device people with neuropathy may not be aware of—a device...

The most convenient places in a fridge to store our stock of insulin may not be the best places. We tend to think our refrigerators maintain a...