Assistive Devices for People With Diabetes and Cognitive Impairment and Their Caregivers

Recording and alarming devices1. Multi-memo voice recorder: records reminder messages
2. Talking recordable products (e.g., photo album programmed to create audio and visual reminders of photos, important information, or medications
3. Reminder clocks: records messages and allows set times for playback
4. Automated pill dispensers: beep (alarm) and open or vibrate to remind caregivers and those with dementia to take their medication
5. Vibrating or audio watch: provides reminder alarms
6. Diabetes Sentry wrist alarm: worn to monitor perspiration or a decrease in skin temperature in the event of a hypoglycemic reaction
Information about products above can be found at:
Insulin and injectable devices1. Insulin pens that provide memory of time and dose of previous insulin injections such as the NovoPen Echo or the Timesulin pen cap memory device
2. Insulin pump: may be appropriate if caregiver is available and well educated in its use
3. Choice of injectable device that is easiest to use for the individual patient
GPS tracking and emergency alert/alarm devices1. GPS tracking devices: worn or attached to the patient to alert caregivers if the patient has left a certain area
2. Alert necklace or bracelet: alerts emergency personnel of patient’s diagnoses or impairments in case of emergency
Picture phonesHelp patients who struggle to remember names or phone numbers by incorporating programmable, large buttons with clear covers in which to insert pictures (i.e., elder phones)
Electrical use monitorsDevices that can be plugged into a wall outlet or power strip and will monitor a person’s use of electrical appliances and alert caregivers if commonly used appliances have not been turned on or off (e.g., Evermind)
Talking glucose metersVoice-activated blood glucose meters that allow patients to audibly track their blood glucose level and history of readings (e.g., Prodigy Voice no code talking glucose meter, Gmate VOICE Speaking Meter, or SOLUS V2)
CGM devices1. CGM devices for personal wear (e.g., Dexcom G5, Medtronic Enlite, or Medtronic Guardian): alert patients or caregivers to fluctuating blood glucose levels and blood glucose levels that are above or below preset parameters. The share feature of the Dexcom G5 might be particularly useful in patients with cognitive impairment.
2. mySentry Remote Glucose Monitor: a device that displays a patient’s blood glucose levels but can be set up in a caretaker’s room. Customizable alarms can be set to alert the caregiver to dangerous glucose levels.
3. CGM devices for professional use (e.g., Dexcom G4 Platinum professional or Medtronic iPro2 Professional CGM: used to track a patient’s glucose levels for a designated number of days; data downloading allows the medical provider to see glucose trends, glycemic excursions, and problematic glucose patterns and direct changes in therapy to address them.
  • Note: With the exception of GPS tracking and emergency alert devices, most devices included in this table are only appropriate for patients with stage one or stage two cognitive impairment and are unlikely to be effective in those with dementia.