For Caregivers

Are You a Caregiver?

Caregiver, companion, aide, loved one, supporter. There are a lot of ways to refer to someone supporting a loved one with a disease like DME. In 2015, there were over 43 million caregivers in the U.S., according to the AARP’s comprehensive report on Caregiving in the United States.1 Anyone can fill this role, but the type of support provided can look different to different people.

If you assist your loved one with everyday activities, chances are you're helping your loved one with one or more of the following2:

  • Activities of daily living, including getting in and out of beds and chairs, getting dressed, bathing, or going to the bathroom.
  • Instrumental activities of daily living, including transportation, grocery shopping, housework, preparing meals, and managing finances.
  • Other key activities, like helping administer medications, monitoring overall health, and communicating with healthcare professionals on behalf of a loved one.
  • General support and encouragement to help them stay positive.

Assisting a loved one can have its challenges, but there are simple tips to help you care for yourself and your loved one with Diabetic Macular Edema (DME).

Caring for Your Loved One

If your loved one is living with DME, low vision probably isn't the only complication from diabetes he or she faces.3 You have likely been supporting your loved one with diabetes for some time, and your help navigating DME is just as important. There are many simple things that you can do to help improve your loved one's daily life, such as helping manage his or her diabetes, creating a home that is low-vision friendly, and reminding your loved one to focus on his or her eye health.

Ensure Diabetes Is in Check4 Keeping diabetes controlled is important for patients with DME. You can help your loved one eat well, exercise, and make other lifestyle changes beneficial to his or her health.
Always Listen7,8 Don’t assume your help is always required. Listen to your loved one’s needs and be open in your conversations.
Motivate & Encourage6 Try reminding your loved one of his or her goals and progress, but don't take over. With small bits of encouragement, you can help motivate each other to stay disciplined with treatment or lifestyle changes and take small steps to positively impact your loved one’s vision health.
Simplify Everyday Tasks7 Simple tasks can become difficult due to vision loss from DME. Help your loved one by tackling these obstacles one step at a time rather than trying to solve them all at once. As a first step, consider reorganizing the home of your loved one or switching up the lighting.
Support Putting Advice into Action5 One of the simplest ways to help a loved one diagnosed with DME is to be an extra set of eyes and ears, listening to and talking with the doctor at appointments. You can help remind your loved one of specific goals and steps to follow. Doctors may even turn to you as a trusted insider to help reinforce their advice.
Monitor9 Using simple resources such as the Amsler Grid to monitor your loved one’s DME can be essential to eye care between appointments. Download the Amsler Grid to check your loved one’s vision – and your own.
Check out Tips for Everyday Living for some other tips for you to help your loved one.
Caring for Yourself

Caring for a loved one may lead you to take on more than you feel you can manage, leaving you stressed or feeling burned out.

To help manage your stress levels, check out these tips for a few simple ideas to help you be your own caregiver while supporting a loved one with DME:

Ask for Help7,8 Know your limits, and don’t be afraid to bring others into the process. If you’re feeling stretched thin, ask other family members, friends, and healthcare providers for help when you need it.
Join a Support Group10 Talking to other caregivers can be one of the best ways to understand your challenges and find support. Click here to find a support group near you.
Take Control of Your Health6 Remember to stay active, eat nutritious foods, and get the proper amount of sleep.
Make Time for You7 While ensuring your loved one is properly cared for, make sure you are keeping a balance and making time to do the things you love to do.
Get Help from Elsewhere Check out the Rides In Sight* program, which provides information about options for transportation to eye doctor appointments in local communities nationwide.
Make Time to Check Your
Own Eye Health
11
If you also have been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important that you schedule regular appointments to get your own eye exams.

You can also
download
these tips.

Resources

Continue to grow in your role with resources and information to help you better support someone living with DME. Check out the full Resources & Tools page for even more materials, including the Patient Mentor Program, a program to connect you to someone living with DME.

Family Caregiver Alliance
Supports and sustains the important work of families nationwide caring for loved ones with chronic, disabling health conditions.
American Diabetes Association (ADA)
A leading diabetes advocacy organization offering caregiver resources.
Today's Caregiver
A leading provider of information and guidance for family and professional caregivers.
Rides In Sight*
Provides information about senior transportation options in local communities nationwide. Supported by Regeneron.
*Rides In Sight is not affiliated or related to Regeneron. Regeneron does not influence or control the operations of Rides In Sight and cannot guarantee assistance will be provided. Rides In Sight is not an emergency service. If you have an emergency, call 9-1-1.
Regeneron provides support to patient organizations, but does not endorse any specific patient organization. These resources are provided for informational purposes only and are not meant to replace a physician's medical advice.

Stay up to date
on our latest
information on

Health information contained herein is provided for general education purposes only. Your healthcare professional is the best source of information regarding your health. Please consult your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your health or any treatment options.
References:
  1. Caregiving in the U.S. 2015. AARP Public Policy Institute. AARP Web site. http://bit.ly/2yRjb5w. Accessed November 17, 2017.
  2. Caregiving. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site. http://bit.ly/2AVYuH3. Accessed November 17, 2017.
  3. Complications. American Diabetes Association (ADA) Web site. http://bit.ly/1umKQTt. Accessed November 17, 2017
  4. Facts about diabetic eye disease. National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging Web site. http://bit.ly/2EMbhy6.
  5. Doctor's appointments: tips for caregivers. National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging Web site. http://bit.ly/2uSBvd0. Accessed November 17, 2017.
  6. 10 ways to deal with caregiver stress. AARP Web site. http://bit.ly/2ipy9t6. Accessed November 17, 2017.
  7. Reactions to vision loss: is someone you love experiencing vision loss? American Foundation for the Blind, VisionAware Web site. http://bit.ly/2zMnylA. Accessed November 17, 2017.
  8. Help for first-time caregivers. AARP Web site. http://bit.ly/2zLYb3v. Accessed November 17, 2017.
  9. Facts about macular edema. National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute Web site. http://bit.ly/2AUxh7s. Accessed November 17, 2017.
  10. Vision loss and blindness. Family Caregiver Alliance Web site. http://bit.ly/1nITM7Z. Accessed November 17, 2017.
  11. Keeping your eyes healthy: get regular comprehensive dilated eye exams. National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute Web site. http://bit.ly/1bPE2dh. Accessed November 17, 2017.
© 2018, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
777 Old Saw Mill River Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591