-START A DIABETES SUPPORT GROUP-
A small support group can make anyone living with a chronic disease feel empowered and less isolated.
Edgecombe Diabetes Support Group Tarboro, NC
The Edgecombe County Health Department knows that people shouldn’t have to manage a chronic disease alone. That’s why once a month on a Monday night, a diabetes support group is held in the conference room of the Tarboro Health Department to educate participants on living well with Type II diabetes. The support group is made up of about 10-12 participants and led by registered nurses and diabetes educators. Most participants have been referred to the program by their doctor and have been consistently attending the program since it began.
Each meeting usually includes a heart-healthy, easy-to-make meal and recipe and an educational lesson plan. Participants learn about hypertension management, medication safety, how to read nutrition labels, and how to make healthy food choices. Some meetings feature a guest speaker from the hospital, health department, or community to present on stroke risk, high blood pressure, and other health risks related to Type II diabetes. In addition to education, the support group also provides participants an opportunity to talk about their struggles, successes and stories of living with diabetes.
The conference room is set up so everyone sits in a circle to invite discussion. The small group setting helps participants feel comfortable and allows health professionals to give each participant individual attention. Participants keep coming back for the community, encouragement, and to learn something new each time.
A diabetes support group, or any chronic disease support group, can be hosted at a church, health department, a home, or any public space like a library. A health department is an ideal location to host meetings because of access to resources, but any common space could work for your group. If you’re a person with diabetes or a chronic disease and you are trying to create a safe space for people to gather and share stories with each other, a church, a home, or a public space will work. The American Heart Association has printable resources on diabetes education and managing chronic disease for individual’s leading meetings. Consider who in your community you can partner with to expand your support group program. Ask your doctor or diabetes educator about guest speakers, online resources, presentations, or other materials your support group can use. If you are a professional trying to start a diabetes support group, ask for referrals to your program and seek existing curricula.
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