Just got diagnosis for my mum of vascular dementia

Discussion in 'Recently diagnosed and early stages of dementia' started by josephinewilson, Jul 11, 2015.

  1. josephinewilson

    josephinewilson Registered User

    May 19, 2015
    112
    Lancashire
    Hello. My 85 year old mum had a memory assessment in May and a brain scan two weeks ago. I just had a phone call from the clinic saying she is diagnosed with vascular dementia. (I confess I'm not 100% sure of the difference between Alzheimers and vascular dementia -I hope I will still be allowed to post in an Alzheimer's forum if she hasn't got it:confused: Although they did say she might also be in the early stages of Alzheimer's -it's hard to be sure, on top of the vascualar diagnosis they are confident of.
    Either way, it just confirms my own suspicions of something being wrong over the last few months. I guess now it is just a case of carrying on, as there is nothing that can be done for her? She is at least quite cheerful - constantly tells people there's nothing wrong with her; she just cant remember anything. She lives in sheltered accommodation and has a care visitor come once a day at lunchtimes to ensure she has remembered/remembers to heat up her microwave meals (which I label with day and meal) I guess it's a case of monitoring her progress, seeing at what point she might need more care visits or something more than that.
    Is there any point telling my mother? She'd probably understand about dementia.Funnily enough a couple of years ago she always used to joke about "having dementia "when she used to write notes all the time, but ever since it has become obvious her memory is going, she hasnt made that comment any more. She seems happy enough, although bemused why carers visit her and why she has appointments as she thinks her memory issues are just about getting old. I'm tempted to let her think that - what do others think?
     
  2. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    9,765
    Merseyside
    Hi Josephine

    Of course you will still be allowed to post.
    My dad has vascular dementia & lots of people who post here care for someone who does.
     
  3. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    4,829
    UK
    Its a personal thing, if you think your mother would understand the diagnosis and not get too upset. My mum was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia last year and I have never discussed this with her, I did try once before official diagnosis, but she became so distraught with the conversation that I decided from that day never to speak of it again, her well being is far more important to me and now a year on I doubt she would understand any of it, although the slightest mention of a bad memory!!!!!! so what's the point. Before all of this she was tested and treated for Pernicious anaemia and so I stuck to this.
     
  4. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,327
    Female
    South coast
    Hello josephine. I thought Id give you a link to a factsheet about dementia, the different types and how they are diagnosed http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=106
    Its not always easy for doctors to tell the difference, it really only makes a difference to medication - the symptoms are pretty much the same :rolleyes:
    This forum covers all types of dementia, not just Alzheimers, so do post and make use of all the help, information and support. :)
     
  5. josephinewilson

    josephinewilson Registered User

    May 19, 2015
    112
    Lancashire
    #5 josephinewilson, Jul 11, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2015
    Thanks

    Thanks for all the kind replies and link to factsheet which I have passed on to other family members. Is there any sort of timeline for how this develops? Or does it depend on individuals? I think we started to notice she was repeating herself about a year ago and I decided to do something about it in April. Will there come a point when she won't recognise me? I just need to be prepared really; although she still does know who I am and there are elements of her personality that come out from time to time (sense of humour etc) I feel like I have lost my mother already - and yet I presume these are still the early stages.:(
    The other thing that worries/upsets me is that it says sufferers can often get depression. My mother has always been a cheerful optimistic person - she still is now, which is why she laughs when carers/doctors etc ask about her memory loss - and it would be sad to see her personality change. Is it a definite that this might happen or is there a chance she might stay cheerful?
     
  6. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,327
    Female
    South coast
    Everyones journey with dementia is different. The only thing that can be said with certainty is that it will progress.
    But how quickly? As the consultant said when I asked him the same question - how long is a piece of string?
    The best way to deal with it is to live each day as it comes, deal with the challenges of dementia as they come and not look too far into the future. I know that it is a shock and it feels like you have lost your mum (and in many ways you have) but she is still in there - just harder to see - but you will still have laughs and fun times in with it all.
     
  7. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Hiya Josephine,
    Your mum is right, it is about 'getting old'....though can happen to younger people too. My mum was diagnosed in her early 60's, and died at 73. Vascular dementia is often described as step-wise, person stabilises for a while, and then there is an obvious change as another event occurs in the brain, followed by stabilisation.

    You haven't lost your mum...she is there, and probably needs you more than ever. There is so much she can still do...i think finding activities you can do together, that dont involve her having to remember, but where you can have fun and appreciate one another.

    No-one is happy all the time. Your mum may experience sadness as she becomes frustrated by her condition. She may become depressed, but there are medications that can help, but nothing is definite. One day at a time, don't worry about what may never happen. My mum did not know me for several years, but it didn't matter, cos I still knew and loved her.

    You are going to have challenges ahead....but your job is to help your mum and yourself to have the best possible life.

    Amy
     
  8. starryuk

    starryuk Registered User

    Nov 8, 2012
    1,299
    #8 starryuk, Jul 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2015
    Hi Josephine,

    I agree, there is probably nothing to be gained by telling your mum, especially if she does not seem to be unduly worried.

    My mum had vascular dementia, too, and knew it, although we never spoke of it, except in a moment of clarity, when she told me!

    As everyone has said, the main thing is to keep on as 'normal' watching over your mum and helping her to live as well as she can at any stage. Post on here for advice or a rant or just a chat!

    The one practical thing to do as soon as possible is to organise setting up a Power of Attorney. This will enable you to take over your mum's finances if/when she can no longer look after her own affairs (bills etc). Once the forms are signed and registered, you can just keep them until such time as needed. Link below:

    https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/make-lasting-power

    Apologies if you know/have already done this.

    Best wishes
    Starry
     
  9. March56

    March56 Registered User

    Aug 17, 2015
    3
    diagnosis

    This sounds exactly like my mum.She was diagnosed in April 2014 but still won't accept there's anything wrong with her other than old age. She just says there's a lot of people who can't remember things at her age - her favourite saying is "its one of the hazards of getting old". She thinks she does all the housework and shopping - which she doesn't - and when I get the vacuum cleaner out I get told that she's already done it and I'm making her feel she can't keep a clean house. Like your mum, she can't understand why the carers visit because she believes she can look after herself. Sometimes she thinks they're cleaners or nurses.
    I think the best thing to do - and its not easy - is to let her think what she likes. Its no good trying to tell her anything else because she'll just forget it or refuse to accept it. I've tried telling my mum she's got dementia but she just gets annoyed and tells me I'm telling her she's going doo lally when she isnt. I think in their minds all is well and nothing's changed. To anyone who doesn't know her she sounds as if there's nothing wrong with her, she's very convincing of the things she thinks she's done. Good luck and try to keep calm - it can be very frustrating but try not to let it get to you.
     
  10. Quilty

    Quilty Registered User

    Aug 28, 2014
    1,056
    GLASGOW
    Hello Josephine,

    Welcome and I hope you get support here. I too have a Mum with Vascular dementia and Alzheimers. Im about 4 years in now and my Mum is in a care home, but well settled and basically happy and well cared for.

    Advice? First things first. Get your POA in place as soon as possible. If your Mums pension is paid into the post office get it paid into the bank asap. Dealing with the Post Office is a nightmare.

    Secondly. Dont try to imagine what the future might be as mots of my worries never came to pass, particularly on home we would end up with Mum in full time care. Take it a day at a time and deal with things as they come up. Your Mum will have good days and bad days so dont panic if she seems to slip suddenly. She might be better after some rest and food.

    Third. Dont let Dementia take over. Try to ignore it and live in her reality. Dont try to force her to remember. Dont correct her. Do what you can to make her smile.

    Keep posting. We are all here.
    Love Quilty
     
  11. jostle131

    jostle131 Registered User

    Aug 26, 2015
    3
    Doncaster
    My Mum was diagnosed with vascular dementia

    My mum was diagnosed with vascular dementia recently and I don't know what to do now. She is 85 and Me and my wife are the only people who care for her. After the district nurse saw her nothing much else has happened. Like a lot of the the stories I have read mum thinks there is nothing wrong, I now live 12 miles away and work long days, I have 3 small children and have to make sure I see her at least 3 times a week or things get bad, I take her out as often as I can and 2 weeks ago took her on a holiday to Devon where her memory loss was amplified. I also call her 3 times a day to check she is OK and to remind her to take her tablets, but even then sometimes she calls me and turns nasty saying I have taken her money or I have left her with no food and that I have not spoke to her and deserted her. I feel I am going to have a meltdown trying to juggle work, my kids and my mum and don't know what to do she wont let me get any help yet i know if there was someone who popped in just for half an hour a day she would be better for seeing someone and i could relax more, I have offered to move her in with me but she will not do that either, she is housebound, me, my wife and kids love her dearly and dont know what else to do, I dont even know what I expect posting this:confused:
     

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