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At last a diagnosis ... and a four-legged helper

Wildwoodflower

Registered User
Sep 18, 2021
27
0
My mum has received a diagnosis following a brain scan. She has vascular dementia but there is no sign of Alzheimer's.
If you've been following my posts here, then you know a little about us, bit for those who haven't, the situation is this:
My mum is 91. She has been showing symptoms of dementia for some time - memory issues, personality changes and anger issues, decrease in reasoning powers, unable to manage her affairs, confabulations and hallucinations. She has good days and bad days.
We live in France, her for 30 years, me since the start of the pandemic when I came to look after her. I am her sole carer.
Anyhow, after I was able to get her, by various subterfuges, to the local memory clinic the specialist doctor put her in for a brain scan. The scan found vascular dementia but without evidence of Alzheimer's. This is a better result that I'd anticipated. The doctor is of the opinion that it can be stabilised with daily aspirin plus ginko.
Now, there's a lot of medical literature around both of these and while aspirin is an obvious choice as a blood thinner and clot reducer, ginko has been more controversial. However, the most recent studies suggest that it can be effective and that other issues with its use may have been overstated. Whatever, she's an almost 92-year-old and we are not much concerned with what may happen 20 years down the line.
I have to say I'm somewhat sceptical that her condition can be stabilised, but I'm very keen to see if we can. That would be quite an outcome.
Her reaction has been fascinating. She is clearly very relieved that Alzheimer's is off the table (for now, at least) and for the first time has admitted that she has memory and cognitive issues. Whether this will last or she'll revert to denial remains to be seen.
Another change in our lives has been the arrival of a dog. We both love dogs and I've been without one for some time, so I've adopted a doggie in need. He's a darling - very well mannered and gentle, affectionate and easy-going Beauceron. Indeed, we couldn't have found better.
Since his arrival my mother has had a notable improvement in mood. She is much less likely now than she was before his arrival to moan and say nasty things. He seems to stimulate affection and empathy in her. Nelson, for that is his name, clearly gets that's she is vulnerable and fragile and likes to care for her. I see him check on her periodically during the day. If she's fretting, he slides in to comfort her, When she goes to bed he slips into her room to give her a goodnight kiss - a lick on the cheek - and does the same in the mornings to wake her up. She absolutely loves this.
He's made a huge difference to my life, too. I'm very much his number one human and he feels it is his job to look after me, which as a sole carer is something nobody else is around to do.
We really don't deserve dogs, do we?
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
4,854
0
Nottinghamshire
Wildflower, although a diagnosis of dementia isn't something anyone wants to hear I'm glad your mother has taken it well. Both my mother and mother in law have vascular dementia and it does go in steps so there can be plateaus. If ginko might help keep things stable it seems worth a try. My mother in law often seemed to improve after a decline as other areas of her brain compensated for anything that was lost.
The dog sounds delightful and obviously what you both needed in your lives.
 

DreamsAreReal

Registered User
Oct 17, 2015
358
0
I love Dogs too, but I had to look up Beauceron - what a handsome doggie! I think all dogs are fabulous stress-busters and he’s clearly doing you both a power of good. Long May it continue 🥰🐶
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,833
0
Victoria, Australia
We too have a rescue dog, and she has been a blessing for my husband.

She was 2 years old then and is now going on to 12 years of age. She sleeps on the bed with my husband and she annoys him to go out for a walk. They only have a stroll around the block but it is very good for him. He talks to her and tells her that he loves her and I cannot measure how much she has helped him over the years.

I am so pleased for all three of you that it has worked out so well.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
3,208
0
High Peak
I have to say I am a little surprised at what the doctor has said! Vascular dementia cannot be stabilised - it will progress as it progresses - it is different for everyone.

Ginkgo biloba is claimed to have all sorts of beneficial effects but there is no scientific proof.
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
11,801
0
Southampton
I have to say I am a little surprised at what the doctor has said! Vascular dementia cannot be stabilised - it will progress as it progresses - it is different for everyone.

Ginkgo biloba is claimed to have all sorts of beneficial effects but there is no scientific proof.
i think he meant that there are no tablets for vascular dementia unlike alzheimers. they can treat some of the symptoms such as aggression but nothing will help with dementia itself and it will just progress in steps rather than gradual. the asprin probably to thin blood to try and stop mini-strokes which is what tends to cause vascular dementia. my husband has had it 3 years now and had a big step down over the last few months but hopefully will plateau for a while until the next big step down.
 

lollyc

Registered User
Sep 9, 2020
787
0
I
My mum has received a diagnosis following a brain scan. She has vascular dementia but there is no sign of Alzheimer's.
If you've been following my posts here, then you know a little about us, bit for those who haven't, the situation is this:
My mum is 91. She has been showing symptoms of dementia for some time - memory issues, personality changes and anger issues, decrease in reasoning powers, unable to manage her affairs, confabulations and hallucinations. She has good days and bad days.
We live in France, her for 30 years, me since the start of the pandemic when I came to look after her. I am her sole carer.
Anyhow, after I was able to get her, by various subterfuges, to the local memory clinic the specialist doctor put her in for a brain scan. The scan found vascular dementia but without evidence of Alzheimer's. This is a better result that I'd anticipated. The doctor is of the opinion that it can be stabilised with daily aspirin plus ginko.
Now, there's a lot of medical literature around both of these and while aspirin is an obvious choice as a blood thinner and clot reducer, ginko has been more controversial. However, the most recent studies suggest that it can be effective and that other issues with its use may have been overstated. Whatever, she's an almost 92-year-old and we are not much concerned with what may happen 20 years down the line.
I have to say I'm somewhat sceptical that her condition can be stabilised, but I'm very keen to see if we can. That would be quite an outcome.
Her reaction has been fascinating. She is clearly very relieved that Alzheimer's is off the table (for now, at least) and for the first time has admitted that she has memory and cognitive issues. Whether this will last or she'll revert to denial remains to be seen.
Another change in our lives has been the arrival of a dog. We both love dogs and I've been without one for some time, so I've adopted a doggie in need. He's a darling - very well mannered and gentle, affectionate and easy-going Beauceron. Indeed, we couldn't have found better.
Since his arrival my mother has had a notable improvement in mood. She is much less likely now than she was before his arrival to moan and say nasty things. He seems to stimulate affection and empathy in her. Nelson, for that is his name, clearly gets that's she is vulnerable and fragile and likes to care for her. I see him check on her periodically during the day. If she's fretting, he slides in to comfort her, When she goes to bed he slips into her room to give her a goodnight kiss - a lick on the cheek - and does the same in the mornings to wake her up. She absolutely loves this.
He's made a huge difference to my life, too. I'm very much his number one human and he feels it is his job to look after me, which as a sole carer is something nobody else is around to do.
We really don't deserve dogs, do we?
I have just aquired a rescue Beauceron! He is a great big fool - and I know my (pre-dementia) Mum would've absolutely adored him. Sadly she is not here to meet him - but I've named him after her father. I think she would have approved.
 

DreamsAreReal

Registered User
Oct 17, 2015
358
0
@lollyc I’m glad to hear you’ve got a rescue doggie too, what a coincidence that he’s another Beauceron.

I always intended to get a dog when Mum passed away, but the same week she died my knee went.

Edit: @Wildwoodflower I meant to say (before being sidetracked by dog-envy), Mum wouldn’t tolerate any mention of dementia so I told her she had a thing called vascular disease and she was fine with that. Sounds like your mum is the same way. It’s a great help if they’re happy to discuss their illness/symptoms with you.
 

RuralTownie

Registered User
Oct 11, 2021
18
0
The therapeutic benefits of pets are remarkable aren't they? And the ability of the animals to understand mood and adapt their behaviour accordingly. We have a dog friend who visits with my brother every week and lifts our dad's mood significantly. We have also adopted two cats who have been an absolute godsend. They're so good with him and bring so much light into his life. Also, one of his favourite pastimes has long been picking up small bits of fluff from the carpet when he should be doing something else, so the animals have certainly helped keep in busy in that department!
 

Pork Pie lady

Registered User
Mar 16, 2013
98
0
Anglia
My husband would love to have a dog but with his various health problems and disabilities and me still working full time we could not look after one properly. We have someone offering to visit with a very friendly dog who would love all the attention. I know it would do him good but wonder if it might back fire and cause him to be more insistent he wants us to have one for ourselves.
 

Wildwoodflower

Registered User
Sep 18, 2021
27
0
I have just aquired a rescue Beauceron! He is a great big fool - and I know my (pre-dementia) Mum would've absolutely adored him. Sadly she is not here to meet him - but I've named him after her father. I think she would have approved.
What an extraordinary coincidence @lollyc !
There can't be many people adopting rescue Beauceron in the world and yet here we are. Nelson sends his fraternal greetings.



I have to say I am a little surprised at what the doctor has said! Vascular dementia cannot be stabilised - it will progress as it progresses - it is different for everyone.

Ginkgo biloba is claimed to have all sorts of beneficial effects but there is no scientific proof.
I was surprised, too, @Jaded'n'faded . Whether it progresses at the same pace or if thinning the blood to lessen the damage of mini-strokes widens the plateaus we shall never know as there is no control in this test. As is pointed out above, it's still dementia and there is no cure. They may have found no evidence of Alzheimer's this time, but next time who knows?
As for ginkgo, well, I share your skepticism. Some very recent research papers suggest that it can be effective in some patients and that doubts about its safety are misplaced. Fact is that she's 91 and there's nothing else on the table. I doubt it is going to do any harm and if it simply does nothing ... what have we lost?
For now, I'll take the diagnosis and I'll take the doctor's optimism that aspirin and ginkgo may make some difference to the progress of the disease.
 

lollyc

Registered User
Sep 9, 2020
787
0
What an extraordinary coincidence @lollyc !
There can't be many people adopting rescue Beauceron in the world and yet here we are. Nelson sends his fraternal greetings.
Most people have never heard of them - at least here in Blighty. Presumably they are better known in France. My friend has his sister, so we probably have a large percentage of the UK stock between us! . Isaac sends his regards to Nelson :)