If you take care of your diabetes or you’re the caregiver for a friend or loved one with diabetes you know it’s a demanding 24/7/365 job. From day to day, even hour to hour, there are endless decisions to make to manage the tightrope of glucose control and stay safe. Over the course of a year most people with diabetes (and caregivers) interact just on occasion with their healthcare providers. You manage, or self-manage, your diabetes primarily on your own.
The good news is that over the last decade technology has increasingly allowed people with diabetes (PWD) and their caregivers to connect online. You’re giving and getting support, offering practical advice, sharing the latest research and technology news and much more.
The diabetes blogosphere began to grow in the early 2000s with a few brave bloggers sharing diabetes news and/or their personal diabetes management trials and tribulations.
Fast forward a decade or so. Today hundreds of diabetes-related blogs are up, each with a slightly different vantage point or focus. In addition, there are online resources from reliable sources including diabetes associations, organizations and government agencies.
Beyond blogs and online resources, PWDs and PWD caregivers (particularly parents of children with diabetes) are connecting online around the globe (so there’s always someone up when you are!). A virtual hug and real-life guidance is available to PWDs and caregivers 24/7/365 in varied social media venues from twitter, to facebook, instagram and more.
As a diabetes educator, I’ve been observing the growth of the Diabetes Online Community – the DOC for years now. I'm thrilled with the support and sharing I observe. But I want more people to engage in this rich resource. To share the stories of people with diabetes or caregivers and their thoughts of how we can more productively and supportively work together, I’ve written a series of blogs called “Dialoging About Diabetes.” Feel free to start with the latest installment, an interview with Catherine Price, who’s had type 1 diabetes since 2001. Catherine and the other DOC-involved people I've interviewed for this series, are wonderful examples of the passion and expertise that is making the DOC grow and take on a life of its own.
The growth of the DOC is absolutely fabulous! It’s heartwarming to observe PWDs connecting, getting supported and no longer feeling alone with this unrelenting and incredibly demanding disease. Getting the support one needs from both health care providers and others caring for diabetes is a critical element to good diabetes care and positive outcomes.
To help spread the word about how to learn, connect and engage with the Diabetes Online Community I’ve work with several members of the DOC to develop a two-page PDF resource that serves as a gateway to reliable DOC resources. It’s available in color or in black and white. Whether you're a healthcare provider working with people with diabetes, work with an organization or have a blog, feel free to post and use this handout to encourage people with diabetes to "click open the DOC." Please distribute it and/or link to it to your heart’s content. This resource is also available on the Diabetes Hands Foundation website both in English in color and black and white and in Spanish in color and black and white.
Let’s work together to make day to day living with diabetes just a bit easier!