"Nothing is linear": Characterizing the determinants and dynamics of CGM use in older adults with type 1 diabetes

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2023 Feb:196:110204. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2022.110204. Epub 2022 Dec 9.


Aims: Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) can reduce hypoglycemia in older adults with type 1 diabetes (T1D). We aimed to characterize factors that influence effective use in this age group.

Methods: Older adults with type T1D (age ≥ 65) and their caregivers participated in one of a series of parallel group model building workshops, a participatory approach to system dynamics involving drawing and scripted group activities. Data were synthesized in a qualitative model of the hypothesized system of factors producing distinct patterns of CGM use in older adults. The model was validated through virtual follow-up interviews.

Results: Data were collected from 33 participants (four patient-caregiver dyads, mean age 73.8 ± 4.4 years [range 66-85 years]; 16 % non-CGM users, 79 % pump users). The system model delineates drivers of CGM uptake, drivers of ongoing CGM use, and feedback loops that either reinforce or counteract future CGM use. Participants emphasized the importance of different sets of feedback loops at different points in the duration of CGM use.

Conclusions: The holistic system model underscores that factors and feedback loops driving effective CGM use in older adults are both individualized and dynamic (e.g., changing over time), suggesting opportunities for staged and tailored age-specific education and support.

Keywords: Continuous glucose monitoring; Older adults; Participatory system dynamics; Systems science; Type 1 diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Glucose
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin
  • Hypoglycemic Agents