-design your own diabetes support group-
Let participants develop and design their own support group to make sure it is fun, interactive, and meaningful for everyone involved. Northampton’s diabetes support group empowers its members and lets them take control of their diabetes.
Northampton Diabetes Support Group Northampton County
Want to put some pep in your diabetes support group? Northampton’s type II diabetes support group did. With the help of a diabetes educator, Cooperative Extension, and a small grant, they transformed their old diabetes management program into fun, participant oriented, support group.
In addition to learning about self-care and living with type II diabetes, the group decides together what activities they want to do, what guest speakers they would like to hear, and what classes they would like to participate in. The support group is held once a month throughout the year with about 10-15 members at each meeting. These small groups make it easier and more comfortable for people to share stories, challenges, and tips they have about living with type II diabetes.
Support group meetings have included heart health programs, diabetes bingo, healthy pot-lucks around the holidays, physical activity exercises, cooking demonstrations, guest speakers, and skin and foot care workshops. At the end of the year, participants are given an evaluation to provide feedback for future support group meetings.
Managing and learning to live with a chronic disease can be overwhelming and making decisions can sometimes feel like they’re out of your control. The Northampton diabetes support group gives that control back to its participants in an accepting, encouraging environment.
You don’t have to stick to a script to have a great diabetes support group. If you already have one or want to start one in your own community, think about your audience and what they need to feel safe and content. Starting with a beginning evaluation to see what people like or want to see change is a great start to figuring out how to switch up your program. Include a brainstorming session at the start of your meetings to find out what people are most interested in or want to try. Try to make sure each meeting is different from the last and keep topics or demonstrations new. Games are a great way to sneak in education, and you don’t just have to play bingo; think about popular games like Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Memory, or the Match Game that could easily support diabetes education. Give control back to your participants by letting them create their own program with their own curriculum.
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