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Celebrating World Diabetes Day

14 Nov 2016

It’s World Diabetes Day on the 14th November and Stephen Denman, supported by Precious Homes in London, has shared his story to raise awareness of diabetes and tell us why self-management and understanding of the condition is vital for people with learning disabilities.

Stephen moved into his own tenancy in one of Precious Homes’ supported living projects two years ago when his health was at an all-time low.

Precious Homes Senior Support Worker Kerida Hopwood explains, “Stephen was very anxious and focused a lot on food when we first began supporting him. His health was poor and he chose not to take part in any physical activity.”

The goal of diabetes management is to enable individuals to be self-caring. For individuals with learning disabilities, it is even more vital to have access to information and empower people with needs similar to Stephen’s to take control and make decisions about their health.

“We worked with Stephen’s dietician to create a diet plan, but a key focus was on increasing his activity and exercise to improve his overall health. This was a challenge as Stephen totally lacked motivation and didn’t like to walk anywhere.” Kerida adds. The plan for the team was to take small steps to reach Stephen’s goal of achieving good overall health, with a key focus on him becoming self-motivated.

Kerida explains, “Stephen likes to go for a beer each week, go to the cinema and needs to go shopping so, as a team, we used these activities to encourage walking. Any time he needed a paper or some milk we would encourage walking, perhaps having 1:1 chats on the way, redirecting Stephen, and making it more enjoyable.”

These small lifestyle changes have led to Stephen becoming fitter and healthier. He as seen the benefits for himself and appreciates how his diabetes management has improved. He is now self-managing his own health, is more motivated and is making positive health choices for the first time.

“Our team have been consistent with approaches and this has aided Stephen’s understanding about the benefits which exercise and good diet have on his health. He now goes swimming at the local health centre and goes to watch his favourite football team, Dartford FC, most Saturdays – walking everywhere!”

Positive approaches, providing accessible information and putting Stephen in control are the key factors in his success.

“Making exercise fun and not feel like a ‘chore’ has led to some huge health improvements for Stephen. His diabetes is now self-managed. He is aware and in control, recognising that his lifestyle choices are paramount to his overall health and wellbeing.” Kerida adds.

A fantastic achievement – well done Stephen!

To find out more about World Diabetes day go to:

https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Get_involved/World-Diabetes-Day/

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