Heading off to college is a difficult and exciting time for many young adults. The anxieties a young person feels upon leaving the nest are significant… and if your child has diabetes, those anxieties can be especially acute, for both you and your child. For you, it’s letting go of your child’s health and trusting them to manage their blood sugar levels on their own; and for your child, it’s stressful, almost like adding another course to their schedule, as it takes time, preparation and vigilance to manage.
Help prepare your child for the transition to college by outlining the challenges and best practices for managing diabetes on their own. It will be an important step in their adult life, but one you can help them take successfully.
- Create a consistent blood sugar test schedule. College schedules are notorious unpredictable. Your child may stay up till 3am studying or even hit a last-minute party on a Tuesday. Even if their schedule in unpredictable, their needs aren’t. Make it clear that they should check their blood levels throughout the day (5 times or more depending on their doctor’s recommendations), no matter where they find themselves.
- Be prepared with the right equipment. The most successful diabetic college students are prepared. That preparation not only provides them with the right tools in a crisis, but it also gives them a sense of security. Your child should always have a test kit, several juices, and an insulin pen on hand. Whether they are between classes, studying in the library or at the biggest party of the year, they should have that stocked bag on hand. There are a number of fashionable purses, messenger bags and backpacks that can make this easier. Include a couple of these on your college shopping list. Likewise, make sure your college student is well-stocked with diabetic shoes and socks so that they don’t have to worry about shopping when they would rather be focusing on school.
- Keep track of changes. Certain activities like walking to a class and specific foods (what they serve at the cafeteria) may affect blood sugar in a certain way. Your child should keep track of those changes to make sure they are treating themselves accordingly. In some cases it may mean avoiding the sugary stir fry or lowering insulin doses.
- Keep medications current and schedule doctor visits . Your child will need to visit the doctor regularly. Make sure they know the importance of keeping these appointments and making sure all their prescripts are filled and up-to-date.
- Prepare them to protect themselves. Your child deserves the same college experience as any other. You and your family should not tolerate any sort of discrimination. Make it clear to your child that if they feel they are being discriminated against, you want to hear about it. They can also call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Diabetes Advocacy for information and legal advise.
About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a leading diabetic shoes and medical supplier specializing in shoes and socks for diabetics .