Diabetes Awareness Month: Diabetes and Diabetes-related Vision Loss.

Taking blood glucose meters to monitor Diabetes independently Aging with vision lossAccording to the American Diabetes Association, 9 percent of individuals with diabetes over the age of 45, have some degree of diabetes-related vision loss. This percentage increases for those that have had diabetes for longer than ten years.

The Aging with Vision Loss (AVL) program introduces individuals with vision loss and diabetes, to the use of adaptive diabetic equipment (ADE) and training. The ADE training includes the use of devices such as talking glucose meters, insulin pens, and single-use, disposable lancets, along with adaptive techniques to enable the individual to continue testing independently.

AVL Instructors will inform and demonstrate the adaptive diabetic equipment and assist with requesting adaptive diabetic equipment devices from physicians. Unfortunately, many health care professionals are unaware of ADE options. Often, individuals with vision loss leave their doctor’s office with a standard glucose meter which is not accessible to a person who can no longer see the results on the tiny screen. Therefore, if needed the instructor will inform the individual of available adaptive diabetic equipment options, how to request them from their doctor, and will assist the individual to advocate for what they need. If an individual has difficulty with their health insurance covering the cost of the devices, the Instructor will provide resources that will assist in funding the adaptive diabetic equipment supplies.

Living with vision loss is challenging but we’re here to help. The Dayle McIntosh Center’s Aging with Vision Loss Program provides free one-on-one services to seniors experiencing vision loss. Whether it’s using your microwave, organizing your pantry, or testing your blood glucose, our Instructors can assist you in achieving your goals for greater independence. If you or someone you know is Age 55 or older, lives in Orange or Los Angeles County, and is struggling with activities of daily living due to vision loss, please don’t hesitate to call us at (714) 621-3300. 

Article by, Socorro Arroyo-Merchain, Program Manager of DMC’s Aging with Vision Loss program.

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