Type 2 diabetes support groups are community-based or online organizations where people living with the condition can share information, find understanding, and give or receive emotional support.
These resources provide an opportunity to share personal experiences and find tips for managing type 2 diabetes. They can be a source of empowerment, giving people tools to improve their symptoms and quality of life.
Additionally, individuals can benefit from building relationships with others in a similar situation.
The following article discusses online and in-person type 2 diabetes support groups and programs. It also outlines how someone can find or choose a group.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
The internet is a valuable tool for people living with type 2 diabetes.
Individuals can find online support groups that offer general discussions about daily life and health habits and specific information on handling the health challenges type 2 diabetes may pose.
Carenity is a website-based social network specifically for those living with chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes.
Features of this support group include a free social network that includes friends, a news feed, discussion forums, and private messaging.
In addition, Carenity publishes high quality medical information and relevant news on medical breakthroughs.
To help members manage their health, Carenity publishes expert videos and articles, patient testimonials, and interviews with doctors.
DiabetesSisters offers various education and support services to help females living with type 2 diabetes live healthier and fuller lives.
Its focus is fostering a bond between females and providing a space where members feel comfortable sharing information, helpful tips, and stories of hope.
DiabetesSisters began its activity in 2008 after the founder received a diabetes diagnosis as a teenager in the early 1990s. She realized how little information or support for females with diabetes existed, and she sought to change that.
T2D Healthline is an app-based support group, and it claims to be the number one type 2 diabetes community.
It offers round-the-clock advice and support from people who understand the challenges of type 2 diabetes, because they are also living with the condition.
Diabetes Forum is the United Kingdom’s largest diabetes support group, with more than 300,000 members.
Although U.K.-based, the group welcomes everyone to ask questions, find support, and share their experiences. It is free and easy to use and helps people understand more about diabetes.
In-person support groups provide a structured, supportive environment to discuss living with type 2 diabetes. Meetings that these groups hold may help reduce feelings of isolation by offering friendship and camaraderie.
Defeat Diabetes Foundation
Defeat Diabetes Foundation (DDF) lists in-person support groups for those living with diabetes by state. On its website, people can find the location of meetings, age groups that can attend, and contact information.
The DDF notes that being a member of a support group is a great way to be proactive about diabetes management. The foundation provides support, tips, and information, forming an essential tool for managing diabetes.
Support programs offer a more structured way of getting information and support.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has a Diabetes Self-Management Education Support (DMES) network that includes support programs located across the United States. Some are covered by Medicare and health insurance.
Some of the things a DMES program can help with include:
- improving knowledge about diabetes
- teaching self-care skills, such as meal planning
- providing help with blood glucose monitoring
- empowering people to create healthy habits, such as exercise
People interested in these programs can find one near them using the ADA search tool.
There are several factors to consider when looking for a diabetes support group.
Firstly, it helps to know what a person with diabetes expects from one of these groups. For instance, if they want to connect with others, it will be important for a group to allow them to socialize.
On the other hand, if they need more structured support to look after their health, a program or group that addresses this directly will be a better choice. It is a good idea to make a list of the top priorities and consider them while searching.
Next, individuals should look for groups that fit these priorities. They can do this by:
- asking a doctor for recommendations
- asking others who have type 2 diabetes about what helps them
- searching online
An essential aspect of choosing a support group is whether an online or in-person group and format is a better fit. Both offer their own set of benefits.
One of the advantages of a local group is that members may see the same doctors as the person joining. They will also know more about the resources available in their region. In-person groups can also be better for making friends.
Online support groups, however, are more accessible, particularly if someone is not feeling well or cannot get to an in-person meeting. Also, support can be available at any time.
Some individuals may want to join more than one group to get the benefits of both group types.
If a support group is not a good fit, it is always possible to try others.
Support groups offer a range of benefits, but for individuals with type 2 diabetes, they are particularly valuable. It can be a difficult condition to understand and manage long-term.
People with type 2 diabetes have to consider taking their medications, modifying their diet, and in some cases, changing their lifestyle. In addition to affecting their physical health, this can also have an impact on their mental health.
The authors of a 2019 study found an association between participating in online support groups and better motivation and social support for those with type 2 diabetes. This may reduce feelings of isolation and boost self-esteem. Moreover, seeing others managing their diabetes and living a full life can be an inspiration to other people with the condition.
Support groups provide a wealth of benefits for their members, including peer support, encouragement, and information. Individuals can access both online and in-person support groups, with each option coming with its own set of benefits.
There are also structured programs that teach valuable skills required for managing diabetes, such as blood glucose monitoring and meal planning. If a person has health insurance, they can ask their health insurance provider whether they are eligible for such programs.
Individuals can ask a healthcare professional to recommend a support group. Many communities and healthcare teams provide support groups for people living with type 2 diabetes.