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5 Tips: Relocating with Diabetes

Changing your address while living with diabetes

Let’s face it: Moving is both exciting and a hassle, whether it’s across town or across the world. I’ve made all sorts of moves in my life, and while moving down the street may sound simple, in reality, it involves endless trips with the car packed to the roof with dresser drawers, boxes of kitchen utensils, and clothing piled haphazardly on top of everything else. And that doesn’t include moving pets and children!

Moving presents specific challenges for those living with diabetes as you learn your way around a new environment (even a different part of town), find the closest grocery store and pharmacy, and help your family ease into new schools, friends, and jobs. Diana Roberts of Arlington, VT, says “I have done a fair amount of moving around since I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I wish I could say I’m organized, but I’ve always just problem-solved along the way. It would have been nice to have been more prepared.”

Consider adding these five diabetes-specific items to your before-you-go moving checklist:

Locate a new physician. To find one, first contact your health insurance plan to get a list of doctors within your network. Check with your current physician to see if he or she knows and can refer you to one of the doctors on the list. And consider doing what I do, which is to ask people I know for recommendations. You can also contact the American Diabetes Association to look for recommendations, as well as seek out an online diabetes community like TuDiabetes, which can help you locate others living in your area who may have similar needs. The American Association of Diabetes Educators maintains a database of accredited diabetes education programs, most of which are affiliated with board-certified physicians experienced in diabetes. Bonus tip: Ask your current physician for two copies of your medical records – one to give to your new physician, and one to keep for yourself.

Update your health insurance. Michele Chynoweth, RD, CDE*, a nutrition and diabetes consultant in Bakersfield, CA, says, “Check carefully, because health insurance coverage doesn’t always transfer to a new state. And new insurance may cover visits and supplies differently.”

Plan for your supplies. If you order diabetes supplies, such as test strips, through the mail, moving generally involves little more than changing your address. If you prefer a local pharmacy, think about what matters most to you: a location close to home or work, long operating hours, or friendly and helpful staff. Again, check with your insurance company to be sure your choice of pharmacy is covered, and talk to your current doctor about possibly getting copies of any prescriptions.

Update your 504 plan. If your child is living with diabetes, get a copy of both the 504 plan and the Individualized Healthcare Plan (IHP) from his or her previous school, but also be aware that you may need to make changes to the plans to fit your child’s new school. The JDRF has an online diabetes support team that may help you navigate the process.

Focus on your new environment and routine. While you may have gone into the move expecting to rearrange the furniture, you may not have considered every aspect of how you’ll be living with diabetes in your new home. Take a few minutes to think about the best spot to store diabetes supplies. And while you’re thinking about new routines, check to see if there is a refrigerator at your new job for lunch and snacks, an on-site cafeteria, and if you have a locker, lockable desk drawer, or other secure location in which to store supplies.

If you are moving to a new country, bring several weeks or even months of medication and supplies with you to give yourself time to learn about the local resources. Your familiar equipment may not be available abroad – even medications sometimes vary overseas. Check with your physician or diabetes educator to find out before you move.

Wherever you’re moving to, remember to include time for stress reduction techniques such as exercise, and daily self-care like choosing more healthful foods and getting adequate sleep. Then try to relax and enjoy your new home.

Get more tips for coping with everyday situations.

Lynn Grieger, RD, CDE*, CPT is a health, food, and fitness coach; you can follow her at and @healthcoachlynn. Grieger is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the contributor, and interviewees, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.

*“Certified Diabetes Educator” and “CDE” are certification marks owned and registered by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE). NCBDE is not affiliated in any way with Sanofi US. NCBDE does not sponsor or endorse any diabetes-related products or services.

© 2012 The DX: The Diabetes Experience

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