Don’t Let Your Diabetes Become a Full-Time Job

Clinical nurse specialist Gail MacNeill, left, Charlene Lavergne and host Libby Znaimer, right, in studio. SPONSORED CONTENT

The lure of retirement is often filled with thoughts of more time to do what we love, with those we love. After years of working hard, you’ve earned the right to some carefree days. Unfortunately, that reality looks a little different for Oshawa resident, Charlene Lavergne, who is among the nearly half of Canadian seniors impacted by diabetes.1 In other words, diabetes can feel like a full-time job. Not only is it time consuming, it can also take an emotional toll.

A 2018 CARP survey revealed that diabetes is believed to have a terrible impact on the daily lives of people living with the condition (70 percent).2

Diabetes requires careful management, including attention to lifestyle choices and finger pricks throughout the day to monitor glucose levels to ensure people living with diabetes stay within a healthy range. Unlike many other chronic conditions like heart disease or arthritis, diabetes is mainly a self-managed condition, with more than 95 percent of care done by the individual.3

For seniors like Charlene who has lived with diabetes for more than 40 years, being able to check glucose levels discreetly and conveniently at any time is important.

 New Category of Self-Monitoring Devices for Seniors

In 2018, Diabetes Canada added a new category of glucose monitors to their guidelines called “flash glucose monitoring”. This innovative technology measures, captures and stores glucose-level data in real-time with a toonie-sized sensor worn on the back of the upper arm.  The device eliminates the need for routine finger pricks.*

“The FreeStyle Libre system has changed my life and given me back time to enjoy the things I like to do,” says Lavergne, “It’s easy to swipe my sensor to get a quick reading.  I am able to test more this way without having to worry about the pain of finger pricks.

 Seniors worried that new technology is not yet covered by provincial health care plans

A 2018 CARP survey showed that 94 percent of Canadian seniors living with diabetes or caring for someone with diabetes believe the government should ensure that those affected by the disease don’t have to pay out-of-pocket for a new technology to monitor glucose.4

Currently flash glucose monitoring is not covered for many patients like Lavergne, and when they reach 65, some of the current funding received to properly manage their condition will disappear.

Take Action: How You Can Help Seniors

For many seniors and other vulnerable populations, flash glucose monitoring technology may be impossible to afford until it is covered under provincial healthcare plans. If you believe it should be covered, take action:

* A finger prick test using a blood glucose meter is required during times of rapidly changing glucose levels when interstitial fluid glucose levels may not accurately reflect blood glucose levels or if hypoglycemia or impending hypoglycemia is reported by the system or when symptoms do not match the system readings.

1 Graydon S, et al 2018 Clinical Practice Guideline. Diabetes in Older People. Can J Diabetes Accessed January 2019
2 Survey conducted on 04/25/2018 to CARP members. The survey was paid for by Abbott Diabetes Care, a manufacturer of diabetes care products in Canada
3 Funnell MM, Anderson RM. The problem with compliance in diabetes. JAMA 2000;13:1709
4 Survey conducted on 04/25/2018 to CARP members. The survey was paid for by Abbott Diabetes Care, a manufacturer of diabetes care products in Canada