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How to help a poorly controlled diabetic

My dad is a poorly controlled Type 2 diabetic, and he doesn’t seem to care. I keep telling him how serious his condition is and that he has to take care of himself, but he continues eating whatever he likes and says he’s too old to change. What can I do?” Celeste Damen.

Dear Celeste,

It isn’t easy for people to hear that they have diabetes. Diabetes is a condition that cannot be cured: it has to be taken care of every day. People who have diabetes have to make some important changes in their lives, but if the change is forced on them, they may not want to do it.

This is what is probably happening with your dad. He most likely knows exactly how important it is to look after his diabetes, but might still be in denial or angry that this inconvenience has been brought into his life.

The fear you feel for your dad’s condition also projects to him, and he is probably trying to reassure you by giving you excuses that he is too old to change or that the situation is not that serious.

Instead of telling Dad what to do and being cross with him when he doesn’t do the right thing, you need to ask him what changes he is willing and able to make. Then encourage him to follow through on what the two of you have decided.

Diabetes has not only happened to him: it has happened to your whole family. This is something all of you have to accept. It’s a good idea to get the whole family to adopt healthy habits, so that there will be less temptation… Offer your dad help, but try not to be the Diabetes Police.

Good luck!

– Jeannie Berg, Diabetes Educator


Published inPartner's Corner


  1. Ashley Jeffery Ashley Jeffery

    Being a diabetic is not easy. A combination of so many things lie at the heart of the struggle to manage and maintain ones diabetes. Life happens and it’s difficult to fight life.

    I’m a T2D while my son is a T1D. It’s a constant struggle of trying to balance everything. Sometimes one wants be normal and live normal and sometimes you are so on top of your diabetes that everything seems to be moving in the right direction and then boom. The carpet gets pulled from under you and your frustration levels just goes through the roof which in itself is not a good thing.

    But we have to keep trying, balancing and hoping for the best.

    • Ah, Ashley, I couldn’t agree more! This is so wise and so true – thank you for sharing.

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