Go to the page content
3 min. read

Supporting someone with type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can be difficult and isolating, so being a part of a loved one’s support system during their journey is an incredibly important role—but not necessarily an easy one. When a friend, family member, or partner is living with type 2 diabetes, there can be a lot of questions, uncertainty, and pressure.1,2

If you are caring for someone with type 2 diabetes, here are some ways you can provide the best care for your loved one—and for yourself—as you support them and guide them along the way.3

Understand Treatment

One of the best ways to support a loved one with type 2 diabetes is to accompany them to doctor's appointments (with their permission) to ask questions, give perspective, speak up on their behalf, take notes, and help them follow through with treatment.3

Talk with your loved one about their preferences, do your own research via trusted institutions, join a support group or participate in online communities and forums - these can all help when you're talking with their health care provider.3

You're there to provide the full picture, and to ensure that nothing gets lost in translation.3 Healthcare professionals are commonly assessing type 2 diabetes treatment protocol for patients every 3-6 months,4 and having good, collaborative discussions can help you all find the most suitable plan for your loved one.

You can start learning about types of treatments:

Beyond Medication

Medical treatment is only one part of your loved one's diabetes story. Outside of the doctor's office, you can make an impact in supporting a healthy lifestyle by simply going on walks or finding new healthy recipes to enjoy together.3

Beyond supporting healthy eating and exercise, you can help combat emotional stress and depression—two mental health issues often correlated with diabetes5—by encouraging activities like therapy, yoga, art or music and getting professional help when needed.

One of the other tough parts of living with type 2 diabetes is dealing with the stigma. Having what many still consider to be a “lifestyle disease,” patients may be subject to judgement from friends, family, and even sometimes their doctor.6 Giving someone a safe non-judgmental space to talk about their struggle and standing up for them can make a big difference.3

Speak with your loved one’s healthcare providers if you need suggestions or support for lifestyle management and mental health.

Take Care of Yourself Too

You can only provide the best care for your loved ones by first taking care of yourself. Never forget that as a part of a support system, you have your own story to write with type 2 diabetes.3

You can, for instance, take time for yourself, understand your limits, and be realistic with your expectations for yourself. Watch for signs of stress and burnout and get plenty of rest. Remember that you are not expected to have the answers for everything and can always ask for help.3

Keep the lines of communication open between your loved one, friends, family, and healthcare professionals, and remember that showing up is the most important part.3


  1. CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes and Mental Health. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/ managing/mental-health.html.last revieved: May 15 2023
  2. Kalra S, Jena BN, Yeravdekar R. Emotional and Psychological Needs of People with Diabetes. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Sep-Oct;22(5):696-704
  3. The British Diabetic Association operating as Diabetes UK. Supporting someone with diabetes. Available at: https:// www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/supporting-someone-with-diabetes.
  4. Buse JB, Wexler DJ, Tsapas A, et al., 2019 update to: Management of hyperglycaemia in type 2 diabetes, 2018. A consensus report by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD). Diabetologia. 2020 Feb; 63(2):221-228.
  5. Kian AA, Vahdani B, Noorbala AA, et al., "The Impact of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on Emotional Wellbeing and Glycemic Control of Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus", Journal of Diabetes Research. 2018;1-6. Article ID 1986820.
  6. Browne JL, Ventura A, Mosely K, et al. 'I call it the blame and shame disease': a qualitative study about perceptions of social stigma surrounding type 2 diabetes. BMJ Open. 2013 Nov 18;3(11):003384.

Related articles