A support system will generally include members who function in different ways. In some cases, members take on a variety of roles, while other members may offer one specific type of support. The following includes some types of support system members you may find helpful.
• Role models are a source of valuable information about the positive and negative aspects associated with the issue. This may be a person who has successfully managed his or her diabetes while living with the ups and downs.
• Friends are those who aren’t family members who provide camaraderie, including a more objective perspective. They may also enjoy some of your same interests.
• Helpers are people you can depend on to provide assistance in troubled times. They are often experts in solving particular kinds of problems. You may perceive your diabetes care team members and others such as community health workers, case managers and your pharmacy where you obtain your diabetes medications and supplies in this role.
• Challengers are individuals who can help motivate you to better understand diabetes, develop skills and learn more. Your diabetes educator, a licensed health-care professional such as a nurse, dietitian, or pharmacist, can help you learn to manage your diabetes by working with you to develop a plan and give you the tools and ongoing support to help you stay healthy.
• Referral agents have expertise in community resources that connect you with the appropriate contacts or tools needed for diabetes self-management.
Adapted from: Seashore, C. Developing and Using Personal Support Systems. The University of Oklahoma Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work. Accessed March 2017.