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Any Vascular Dementia experience?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by MILVascularDem, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. MILVascularDem

    MILVascularDem Registered User

    Oct 14, 2015
    44
    Deep South in the USA
    Hello!

    I'm pretty new here and new to this disease, too. In reading this wonderful forum, I'm learning that there is not definitive answer as everyone presents their disease differently. So, I'm wondering if you've had experience with loosing or are loosing a loved one to VaD, could you share it with me here? I'm pretty sure we are in late stages, but some days she seems bright and alert and almost normal.

    Thanks for your time and help! Learning here!:eek:
     
  2. balloo

    balloo Registered User

    Sep 21, 2013
    227
    northamptonshire
    my MIl was diagnosed 3 years ago with VD but we can looking back can see problems 4- 5 years before this. When she first came to live with us 3 years ago she could do picture puzzles on a computer, word searches , reading ,but 2 yrs later she could not do word searchers or puzzels even with help. Now 3 years since she moved in with us she cannot even rember to go to the toilet I have to reminder her and does mess her self some times and cannot wipe her self or bath her self .She came to us as Christmas 3 years ago and did not want to go home .I am her main carer along with her son ,we have 9 hrs sitter services a month and that's it. We claim attendance allowance and have a bath lift.
     
  3. MILVascularDem

    MILVascularDem Registered User

    Oct 14, 2015
    44
    Deep South in the USA
    Hello balloo-

    Yes - I read your post on another thread...thank you for sharing - I'm pretty much like you in our caring roles. My MIL has always been pretty "simple" all her life, so a mind puzzle or anything to do with figuring things out has never been her strong suite. So, it's kind of hard to determine whether her "simpleness" now is due to her disease or just her. We've had "well meaning relatives" tell us "...she's not sick - she's just old". I'm not buying that. And to be completely blunt - my caregiving role is more one of duty than gut-wrenching love like so many of you dear souls are struggling with every single day..:(

    I'm finding this interesting the difference in medical care between your country and mine. We have what is called "Home Health" here. But it is limited. You are "evaluated" every 4 weeks and if they can document a decline in your health, you get to stay another 4 weeks. So far, we've been lucky since July. But she may plateau and I'll be on my own until she declines again. So far, all I've needed is a bath aide twice a week. If Home Health has to leave, the bath aide told me she can keep coming, by only on private pay - which I think is pretty reasonable.

    I don't know what I'm going to do when she gets to the stage you described - not being able to clean herself. I just don't know if I can do that. She has NO personal hygiene now, but at least she's wiping herself still. And she wears a pull-up diaper.

    Thanks again - many blessings to you!!
     
  4. Soobee

    Soobee Registered User

    Aug 22, 2009
    2,734
    South
    Hi. My mum had vascular dementia for at least 5 years, diagnosed in 2009 and she died in 2014.

    Her general memory wasn't so affected - it was sequencing that affected her most and lack of mobility. She used to ask what foot to put down first to get out of the car with, she forgot how to do things in the right sequence so she couldn't stand up. She was incontinent to start with. By 2009/2010 she couldn't go out for a meal and she found it hard to follow conversations. She was apathetic and wouldn't do anything or try to help.

    She was very talkative and shouty before and became quiet because she couldn't find the words. She had a period of hallucinations and calling for my dad constantly so he was unable to sleep etc. She went into a nursing home at the end of 2011. In the care home she wasn't stimulated at all but my dad visited as often as he could until he died in 2012. After that she was even more withdrawn and didn't really string sentences together, but called for him constantly for a while. She said she never really loved him and I believe that was true in terms of the last 10 years (they'd been married 49 years). She seemed to know that he'd died after a while but we still tried not to mention him around her. We showed her lots of photos and she said the odd words but couldn't move at all. In the last 6-8 months she couldn't feed herself.

    Often we'd get a definite connection with her but often we didn't know whether she understood or knew who we were talking about. On one occasion I played her the song "Two little boys" and she started crying - she couldn't tell me why, so I asked her if it brought back bad memories and she nodded. Another time I asked her what colour jelly babies she wanted and listed the colours. She said very clearly "Red". These are two times I knew she understood me but I always got the impression she knew who I was. She got my dad's friend confused with him once but usually her memory for faces was intact.

    When you say you think your MIL is in late stages, does that mean you think she's physically immobile or unable to understand you?
     
  5. PeggySmith

    PeggySmith Registered User

    Apr 16, 2012
    1,685
    BANES
    Hi, my MIL has vas dem. FIL died in 2002 and some slight symptoms showed up within a year but it wasn't until I retired in 2011 that it became apparent that something was badly wrong. She continued at home with loads of support until March 2013 when she was admitted to hospital and a nursing home from there. She no longer has any mobility, has to be fed and is doubly incontinent. On the upside, she still knows her 2 sons and DILs but has forgotten the grandchildren and great grandchildren. She's mostly happy and content but is now losing language.
     
  6. balloo

    balloo Registered User

    Sep 21, 2013
    227
    northamptonshire
    my MIL was a teacher for many years and before that a Lab tech and always did crosswords etc.
     
  7. MILVascularDem

    MILVascularDem Registered User

    Oct 14, 2015
    44
    Deep South in the USA
    #7 MILVascularDem, Oct 25, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015

    Well, when we were in the hospital in July and they could not find anything wrong with her (she was sleeping all the time/had no appetite/loosing leg mobility/zero personal hygiene) finally the neurologist came in, did some manual tests on her, saw the old TIA's on her scans and looked at me and told me she was in late stage VaD, to call Hospice and go home. She of course improved when she got home and got used to the fact that she was living with us permanently(that was a bit of a fight, but we persevered). She did experience lots of hallucinations when she moved in with us, but I attributed that to this huge change and her resistance in living with us. She was put on Seroquel (a psychotic anti-anxiety med) and the hallucinations mostly stopped.

    Its mostly her mobility. She is very very wobbly and that seems to be getting worse almost on a daily basis. If someone isn't walking along side of her, she'd fall all the time. She's partially incontinent. Some days she'll fill up her pull-up, others they stay mostly dry and she makes it to the toilet.

    And her reasoning is pretty much gone. And time is completely gone. She told a neighbor yesterday that she hasn't driven a car in about 6 months - it's been 2 years.

    But like others have said - her memory is fairly in tact. She can tell you song and verse about any movie star or celebrity. Our sons (they are 20 and 21 years old) get a kick out of asking her trivia questions about any celebrity and somehow she knows anything you'd ever want to know!! Even current ones - how does she know and retain this? I could care less....we don't watch tv that much, but she does in her room. Somehow she's got a radar for that kind of trivia!!

    Based on what I'm reading, it doesn't appear she's in late stages, but perhaps mid stage??
     
  8. MILVascularDem

    MILVascularDem Registered User

    Oct 14, 2015
    44
    Deep South in the USA
    Oh - and last week, I noticed when we were walking, she was really having trouble with her steps, I looked at her face and she was blinking repeatedly. I asked if she could see and she said, "...well, Hun(remember the Hun thing!;)) my vision ain't what it should be..." After quizing her in a dozen different ways, she was finally able to tell me she is blurry today. I'm thinking that is part of VaD? If the blood vessels are shutting down in the brain, it makes sense her vision would be effected too?

    That has happened only once so far that i'm aware of.
     
  9. MILVascularDem

    MILVascularDem Registered User

    Oct 14, 2015
    44
    Deep South in the USA
    My MIL was a manual labor lady all her life. She worked in sewing factories. She made everything from jeans to flack jackets for the military. There were several of those types of factories around her little southern town. She was a hard worker and her bent fingers today are proof of that. But you could never call her an intellectual. Her son, my husband, was the first to go to college, much less an advanced degree. Verses my family all earned advanced degrees and were "white collar" people. Studying the nature of people and their backgrounds and how they turn out and why things happen is fascinating to me. A study in the psychology of people!
     
  10. hvml

    hvml Registered User

    Oct 10, 2015
    300
    North Cornwall
    Hello. I care for my Dad, who is at what I think of as a moderate stage of development in vascular dementia. On the plus side, he is able to mobilize to some degree around the house and can weight bear in order to stand up and sit down unaided. He has a good appetite and can feed himself. He is able to communicate his needs and hold a conversation, get some enjoyment out of the TV and a lot of enjoyment out of music.

    On the minus side are all the old culprits. Short term memory loss, constant repetition, confusion and anxiety, compromised mobility and double incontinence. He has no fixed concept of time and is likely to get up shouting in the middle of the night.

    All in all, I feel quite lucky to be with him at a time when he is still recognisable as himself and most often, he recognizes me. It's taken me a long time to find my balance as a carer, but it has been worth the effort.

    I hope you have a lot of the plus points in your MIL's favour too. All the best. Xx
     
  11. MILVascularDem

    MILVascularDem Registered User

    Oct 14, 2015
    44
    Deep South in the USA
    Your obvious love for your dad warms my heart! I hope you all have lots of good quality time together! Thanks for sharing!
     
  12. MILVascularDem

    MILVascularDem Registered User

    Oct 14, 2015
    44
    Deep South in the USA
    Ok-so on Monday, I get my MIL up to eat her "breakfast" which is at noon, then waiting for the bathe-aide to come for her bath. She's sitting in her recliner waiting - seems fine. When the aide arrives, takes her vitals - all good. Blood Pressure, heart rate, temp all good. But she stands up and we catch her before she falls. She shuffles with us on each side of her to the bathroom. While the aide is turning on the water, my MIL starts to faint. I catch her - we shuffle back to her bed and she's in bed all day on Monday. Her complaint is "...I feel wrung out..." I can't get her to describe anything else. No headache, no nausea, achy joints, nothing....I was wondering if she's coming down with a cold or virus or anything - but nothing.

    Her nurse came yesterday and again - all vitals are fine. She was better, she sat in her recliner all day - but I could tell in her face she still wasn't right. And today, again, up, eat, better, but somehow not right. This VaD thing is just blowing my mind. Could a TIA make her that dizzy - almost fainting? I'm now wondering about heart - like Congestive Heart Failure? Although, she has no apparent swelling in the ankles or hands or anywhere. She does have a dry hacky cough. She has had that for a long time.

    And another weird thing - she just doesn't eat much at all. Same oatmeal every single noon day, then barely anything the rest of the day. Maybe buttermilk and cornbread or she'll drink a vanilla ice-cream shake with a protein drink mixed in later in the day - but that's it! The weird part - she is not loosing ANY weight. I'd be a stick by now if that's all I ate. She even put ON weight a couple of weeks ago - again making me wonder about CHF...

    We are going to see her doctor next Monday for somemore blood work - but my money is on him not finding anything new.....

    Wow - this disease is "gonna be the death of me..." HA!! :p
     

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