The Caregiver’s Workshop:
A Diabetes Skills Class for Friends and Family of Berrie Center Patients

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to babysit for your young grandchild (or niece, nephew, friend or even neighbor) with type 1 diabetes? It may sound more daunting than it actually is, and the Berrie Center is here to help you get ready for your first time as the caregiver for our patients with type 1 diabetes. It’s so important for parents of a child with diabetes to have relatives or friends that they can count on to babysit, so they can go to the movies, run errands or just have a break.  

Among the many amazing educational opportunities offered at the Berrie Center is the Caregivers Workshop—a group class given every three months to teach people the basic skills required to care for people with type 1 diabetes. This is a workshop only available to the grandparents, family members and friends of children who receive their care at the Berrie Center.


“We want people to walk away from this workshop feeling well-informed and reassured that they can take care of a child with diabetes, at least for a limited period of time,” said Andrea Lopera, LMSW, the Berrie Center’s social worker.

Jaclyn Gee, MS, CCLS, the Berrie Center’s Child Life Specialist, who helps teach the 90-minute workshop, says that the class is a terrific overview of type 1 diabetes—and it also introduces people to glucose meters, insulin pumps, insulin pens, and carb counting. It offers tips for making diabetes-friendly lunches and snacks, for preventing, recognizing and treating high blood sugar and low blood sugars. “We try to help normalize diabetes for a grandparent or family member,” said Jaclyn. “Attending the workshop can help the child and family feel more comfortable with diabetes. You’ll feel better knowing that taking care of a child with diabetes is not really frightening.”

“It’s very important for parents to have others around them to help share in the diabetes tasks,” says Andrea. In addition, it’s important for the child with diabetes to know that the relative caring for him or her is not anxious and that more than one person can “do the diabetes.” Said Andrea: “Everybody needs a respite. As a parent, you rely on grandparents and aunts and uncles to help you with your children, and this is also true for your children with diabetes.”

To find out more about this workshop please call our Outreach Coordinator Jennie Preval at 212-851-5364 or email at jm206@columbia.edu


Click here to support educational programs at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center.