For Immediate Release:

Home Care Matters of Flowery Branch, Georgia, sponsored the first episode of the Approved Senior Network’s new Facebook Live Video program: “Dementia and Type 2 Diabetes” with Valerie VanBooven RN BSN as the Host.

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View the full transcript here:

Sponsored by Home Care Matters of Flowery Branch, Georgia

The staff at Home Care Matters is available to talk with you and your family about all of your needs. Home Care Matters is a home care agency providing quality and affordable Senior Care in Flowery Branch, GA, and surrounding areas. Call (678) 828-2195 for more information.

My name is Valerie VanBooven, and today I’m putting on my registered nurse hat and we’re going to talk about type two diabetes and dementia. And I picked this subject matter because it’s near and dear to my heart. My father is 70 years old and at age 40 he was diagnosed with type two diabetes and it went uncontrolled for many, many years and now at age 70 he is in a care facility because he has vascular dementia.

This is something that affects people of all ages and it takes many years for it to really take its toll on your body, but it will. So let’s talk about dementia and type two diabetes. Also, if you want to visit our website, it’s approved senior you can go there, find free guides for all kinds of different subjects. You can find care, you can talk to professionals, so please be sure and visit our website. All right, let’s talk type two diabetes. That’s the first order here. For those of you who aren’t sure what type two diabetes is or you’ve heard about it, but you need a little refresher. Nearly 21 million Americans in the United States have diabetes, a disease that makes the body less able to convert sugar to energy, more than 6 million people don’t even know they have type two diabetes. That’s why it’s so important that you go have those annual checkups, get that blood drawn and make sure you know what your numbers are.

Most people with diabetes have type two which is linked to lack of exercise and being overweight. This is the type of diabetes that you get as an adult when diabetes is not controlled too much sugar remains in the blood. Too much sugar causes so many problems. It can cause damage to organs, including the brain. He can feed cancers. There are so many things that sugar attributes to sugar is very addictive and it is one of the things that can hurt us over the course of years and years and years. So let’s talk about diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.


All right. So scientists are finding more evidence that could link type two diabetes with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia and the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. That is huge. Several research studies following large groups over many years suggest that adults with type two diabetes have a higher risk of later developing Alzheimer’s disease. And we can see that if you, you have a grandparent who has had type two diabetes for a long time and now they have Alzheimer’s disease, we can see so many correlations with this. So what is the Alzheimer’s-Diabetes Link? Now I will tell you that doctors don’t yet know what causes Alzheimer’s disease, but in the last several months and weeks we have seen a lot of progress on Alzheimer’s disease and I hope that soon there will be some breakthrough and some treatment for those who have Alzheimer’s disease. Um, so we keep our fingers crossed every day, right?

Um, [inaudible] we don’t know how Alzheimer’s and diabetes are connected, but we do know that high blood sugar or insulin can harm the brain in several ways. Diabetes raises the risk of heart disease and stroke, which hurt blood vessels and heart damage. Blood vessels in the brain may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. The brain depends on many different chemicals which may be unbalanced by too much insulin. Some of these changes may help trigger Alzheimer’s disease and high blood sugar causes inflammation. If you read a lot online about health, there’s been a lot of discussion in the last few years about inflammation in our bodies helping cause different things like cancer and just you know, really wreaking havoc on our bodies. Um, high blood sugar causes inflammation. This may damage brain cells and help Alzheimer’s to develop. So let’s talk about vascular dementia because that is what my father has and it is related to having some strokes.

So vascular dementia is the most common. The second most common type of dementia behind Alzheimer’s disease. About one in 10 people who have dementia have vascular dementia, which happens when there’s not enough blood going to your brain. This can be caused by damage to your blood vessels or blockages that lead to mini-strokes or brain bleeding. And doctors use used to call it multi-infarct or post-stroke dementia. It doesn’t happen right away. Oftentimes it can develop over time, which is what happened to my dam. Unlike Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss isn’t the typical first symptom. Instead, people with vascular dementia can have different signs depending on the area of the brain that’s affected, such as problems with planning or judgment. No drugs have been approved to treat this type of dementia. But you can do some things to keep your brain and blood vessels healthy and try to prevent future damage.

And this includes exercising, eating well and not smoking, but it also includes making sure you know what’s going on inside your body and if you have type two diabetes, keeping that under control. So what happened with my father was, um, he knew, you know, this is back in I guess the late eighties. He knew he had type two diabetes and high cholesterol. It was an inherited trait for him and he did not take his medicine as prescribed and he wasn’t always compliant and he was very much addicted to sugar over time. Uh, and at some point, it becomes a little crazy because when you’re used to having a high blood sugar, which is so unhealthy, you crave sugar to keep that blood sugar high. So a blood sugar of 300 is way too high, but you crave sugar to keep it at that level because you’re so used to being there.

So sugar is a lot like a drug. In fact, I have read that it’s um, as, as addictive as cocaine. Um, you know, but it’s, uh, maybe that’s a not a great comparison, but it’s very addictive. So, um, when you have type two diabetes, you can crave sugar because you’re used to having a higher blood sugar than most people have. So that can happen. Anyway, over the course of time, um, he had a quadruple bypass and in his, I guess the late fifties, I want to say early sixties, maybe it was probably in his early sixties. And then, um, sometime around there he had a couple of strokes. Uh, we can see two strokes that showed up on his MRI. Not sure when, if they both occur at the same time. Pretty sure we know when the second one occurred with the first one. Could have been years ago or a few years before when he had some, um, changes in his personality and they were subtle and, you know, just kind of, uh, maybe grumpy old man syndrome kind of stuff.

But it really was a change in his personality that went untreated and undetected because it really didn’t affect how he moved his limbs. There was no facial effect. It was just a personality and it was in his frontal lobe, which is where our personality sits. So then he had another stroke, which was definitely an issue and you can tell he was having a stroke. And so after that, he went through Rehab and was home for a long time and his wife did a great job of trying to keep him at home. But at some point, it just becomes too much. And it is okay to know that you don’t always have to keep somebody at home if you, or you can keep them at home with help. Um, so home care is one of the things I can help tremendously. Caregivers, spouses, adult children who are caregiving.

This is a, a large, large weight on their shoulders. And of course, we want to take care of our spouses. And of course we want don’t want our parents to ever have to go to a nursing home and home care can help prevent that and keep them at home for as long as possible. So if you have a loved one who is failing to be able to take care of themselves very well, consider talking to someone about starting some home care. Talk to them about the cost, about how many hours a day or a week that you might need care. You know you don’t have to have home care eight hours a day every single day of the week. You can just have home care long enough for you to get a break. And I think the real challenges start when you have an aging loved one who’s up in the middle of the night if they can still walk.

If they are wondering if they are confused all night long, then you’re not getting any sleep either. So it’s important to have somebody there who can troubleshoot for you and help you in the middle of the night so that you can get a good nights sleep. And that caregiver that in-home caregiver can help take care of mom or dad or spouse or grandparents or whoever it is who’s having trouble sleeping. Because it’s so common for people to have challenges sleeping at night and sometimes even the drugs that we can give them to try and help them sleep don’t really work very well. So melatonin may not work and you know, prescribed drugs may not really work well in those situations. It may make them more confused, but they’re still getting up in the night. And there’s a point where maybe, you know, you have lots of home care in the house and that’s awesome.

Maybe it’s time to move to an assisted living situation or maybe it’s time for nursing home care. It just depends on each individual situation and how much help you have. But community outreach and looking at all the resources you have is so important. And my suggestion would be to reach out to a home care agency, local to you, find out what the resources are because they are a resource, but they also know all the other resources that are available to you. Maybe your grandparents forget to eat and they just need meals on wheels or they just need somebody to come over and make sure have a light meal and maybe get a bath three times a week. Um, you know, there could be some very simple things you can put in place until the next step needs to be taken where maybe they need more care or maybe they need 24 seven care.

And my dad’s case, he needs 24 seven care. He is ambulatory with a walker. He can carry on a conversation with you. That’s, you know, like in conversation, he’s very good at that. We can take him out to lunch, we can take them to different places, but he also gets tired very easily. So it’s short excursions and getting them out and get him, you know, visiting with other people and get them some socialization outside of the Care Center. But he also has amazingly good friends inside the care center and the Care Center does a great job of taking care of their residents. And we are so lucky to have him in a place where we can trust the people who are caring for him. But it also takes a lot of diligence and a lot of care on the family’s part still because you can’t just set it and forget it.

You have to make sure you visit and advocate for that person all the time. You know something is not quite right. You have to let somebody know. So those are the kinds of things that our family has been through and those may be the kinds of things that your family is going through. So I would highly recommend going to approve senior getting a hold of someone in your local area and just having a conversation about where you are, what kind of resources you might be looking for or there may be resources you don’t even know exist that can help you free and paid. So please reach out, find some help and have a conversation with your local home care agency. You can trust the providers on

Thanks, everybody. My name is Valerie VanBooven. I’m a registered nurse and today’s topic was about dementia and diabetes type two.

We are going to cover tons of different topics. We’ll be doing this two times a month. Um, if you have a topic that you would like us to discuss, I know we have had several suggestions. Hospice is one of them. Let us know and we will make sure that’s on our calendar for another Facebook live. If you’re watching the replay of this video, if you’ll put hashtag replay too little comment and do a little pound sign replay and let us know so we know how many people actually watch this as a replay. We will also be doing this in the evening and rotating back and forth for folks out there who work and we’d like to watch it live. You’re welcome to do that.


Valerie Darling, Founder, Owner