When you live with type 1 diabetes there is SO, SO MUCH information to learn, especially in the early days. So much, that I don’t think it is possible for any health care professional to cover absolutely everything – how could they? Then, as they years go by, we are considered the experts, and so information relevant to us falls through the cracks. One of the major benefits of diabetes support groups is that it can fill in a lot of those information gaps; such as where to register to get your many, many health checks, such as feet and eyes or if your clinic has structured education programmes. A support group also helps you to stay updated as the health information changes, which it does all the time. And it also lets you know that you are not the only one living with diabetes.
In my opinion, diabetes peer support is as important in your diabetes management as your health care providers. A support group provides opportunities to share experiences and to learn from one another. They encourage strength and resilience. Very often it’s the piece of diabetes management that you never knew you needed.
ConnecT1D in Seattle say that “people with T1D who connect with others with T1D tend to make shifts in their lifestyles that add up to better T1D management, better health and greater satisfaction in life.”
Diabetes Forecast, the American Diabetes Association’s monthly magazine says that “Much of the research on peer support has involved people with diabetes, and the findings are significant. According to a recent report by the National Peer Support Collaborative Learning Network, of 20 studies on peer support and diabetes published between 2000 and 2012, all but one found social support to be beneficial.”
It doesn’t matter if that support comes from the virtual world of social media or from face to face contact. Although, I feel that you can’t beat face to face meetups.
I believe that a diabetes support group only needs two people to meet over a cuppa to get started. That might be a simplistic view of it but that’s what it is. I suppose it helps if those two people get on well too.
If you are interested in becoming part of a Diabetes Support Group we have a list that we try to keep updated.
Another way to get connected to your type 1 diabetes community is to come to Thriveabetes 2018 in Dublin on Saturday 24th February, where you will meet, at least, 100 adults with type 1 diabetes and at least, another 100 parents of children with type 1 diabetes. Now, that's a lot of support.
Register here for Thriveabetes 2018