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How to Live with a Diabetic Roommate
(AUGUST 2013) Moving away from home and living on your own is difficult enough for most young adults who are entering college. Everything ahead is unfamiliar, uncharted water that can make you uneasy just thinking about. Most students opt to live on campus and are assigned a random roommate. This process can make just about everyone nervous. Living with someone for a whole year after only knowing them for a few short minutes before the semester begins? Although you will hope for the best, in the back of your mind, you are worried that you and your roommate won't get along.
When you finally meet, your roommate seems normal and friendly. As you're unpacking your things, you notice a prescription for insulin on the kitchen counter. Is your roommate diabetic? How do you approach the subject? You barely know this person and you don't want to start your relationship off asking about sensitive subjects.
With the number of diabetics increasing each year, the likelihood that you could be matched with a diabetic roommate is higher than ever. If you do have a diabetic roommate, wait for them to tell you about their condition on their own time, rather than asking them directly. The subject can be sensitive and each diabetic has their own way of telling people about their condition.
Once you and your roommate develop a friendship, make sure to let them know you are open to learning about their disease and doing everything you can to accommodate them. Most importantly, ask them to teach you how to administer insulin shots and how to check their blood sugar levels. The best way to have peace of mind is for them to have a medical identification bracelet. This will allow everyone to know what to do if or when there is a medical emergency.
The last issue to mention while living with a diabetic roommate is the diet restrictions that come with the disease. Diabetics must follow a strict diet that requires them to avoid certain items such as sugary treats and fattening foods. Try not to keep too many sweets laying around in the dorm in the common area that you share with your diabetic roommate. This may make them feel uncomfortable and even tempted to eat things that are not conducive to their health.
Maintaining a healthy diet is a very important component in a diabetic's lifestyle, so trying to accommodate them the best that you can is helpful. Offer to prepare healthy meals and encourage them to exercise as much as possible. If your roommate seems dizzy or looks sick at any time, make sure to ask them if they need help administering an insulin shot. Being helpful and supportive can make all the difference while dealing with a diabetic roommate.