A new study found that for older adults, using a FreeStyle Libre CGM can ease the burden of monitoring blood sugar levels. Especially in older adults with memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s, a CGM can make a huge difference.
The study, performed at the University of East Anglia in the UK, looked at older people with an average age of 85 with dementia who used the FreeStyle Libre Flash CGM. The study found that the older adults enjoyed the greater ease of use, comfort, and better glucose monitoring. In addition, the CGM allowed them to still go about their daily activities and sleep well at night.
More research needs to be done in a larger group of people to verify the effectiveness of such a device in improving quality of life, health, and preventing life-threatening situations and emotional distress.
With 20 percent of older adults with dementia or memory loss also having diabetes, looking for new and effective ways to care for this group is very necessary. Diabetes can be especially dangerous in that these adults might not recognize the symptoms of low blood sugar before it happens. Additionally, other medications they are taking might make them more susceptible to low blood sugars.
Continuous glucose monitors help those with memory loss
A continuous glucose monitor is a small device that affixes to your skin and allows you to track blood glucose levels all day and night without finger pricks. It has to be changed out only about every two weeks. It also allows you to track data over time and send stats to your doctor and caregivers. CGMs are especially helpful for people with type 1 diabetes, and can also be very helpful in those with type 2 for either constant or occasional continuous glucose monitoring.
Other problems with seniors and diabetes
Other risks that come with being an older person with diabetes and memory loss include a higher number of ER visits, a tendency to not take medications as advised, and a higher mortality rate after natural disasters.