My mum diagnosed with Vascular Dementia

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Stillinhere, Sep 30, 2015.

  1. Stillinhere

    Stillinhere Registered User

    Sep 28, 2015
    My mum has just been diagnosed with Vascular Dementia - stroke related. She had a stroke around 8 years ago and has been losing memory and showing signs of confusion etc. for the last year or so. I don't know what to expect going forward although I have lots of information about groups I can go to where I can learn more about how to handle this illness.
    My mum has always been a very anxious person and has become more anxious as time has gone on. She prefers to stay in her own home and is not keen to join groups or go to day centres where she will be 'occupied'. I kind of understand where she is coming from, I am not much of a 'joiner' myself. My question is - should I be pushing her to go to these groups? She has tried one over the last two weeks and is really scared of going again - everyone there is very kind to her but she just doesn't like it. She doesn't want to join in the quizzes etc. but when they say she doesn't have to - she thinks they will say she is stupid etc.... Some people say I should make her go because once there she is 'happy' and that the social stimulation is good for her!! Mum told me that she just sits and smiles at everyone so she looks happy but really she is just waiting to be taken home. I do not believe that my mum is 'being awkward' she doesn't behave like that but she is very scared and uncomfortable in these group situations. Has anyone else been in this position, and, if so, what did you do ...?
    Thank you in advance :)
  2. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    Welcome to TP :)

    My dad was diagnosed with vascular dementia earlier this year. He refuses point blank to go to day centre or to any groups.
  3. loveahug

    loveahug Registered User

    Nov 28, 2012
    Moved to Leicester
    Hi and welcome. My mum point blank refused to go anywhere that involved 'being forced to talk to boring old people', she said that when she was 84! We tried all sorts of tactics but failed totally. She's 91 now and in a CH but still complains bitterly about being dumped with a bunch of old'uns :D
  4. Suzanna1969

    Suzanna1969 Registered User

    Mar 28, 2015
    These groups can be helpful IF the person was fairly sociable before the disease took hold and IF they are essentially the same person (some have a total personality change although if someone has always shied away from big social groups I can't see that Dementia would turn them into a social butterfly)

    What sort of activities did your Mum enjoy when she was younger? And did she enjoy smaller groups or just one-on-one friendships? If so your local Age UK might be able to point you to helpful organisations like Crossroads who could have someone pop over once a week for a chat etc. Does she still have friends who could be encouraged to come over? If she gets Attendance Allowance she could use that for taxis to take her to see a friend if transport is an issue.

    My Mum used to enjoy Word Searches although she has gone beyond that now, if it's something your Mum would enjoy she will get just as much mental stimulation from that. At least your Mum is lucid enough to explain how she feels, so perhaps you could have a chat about what she'd feel comfortable and happy doing. Trying new things is a good way to stimulate her as long as she feels safe doing them and doesn't feel forced.
  5. Stillinhere

    Stillinhere Registered User

    Sep 28, 2015
    Thank you so much for your replies - really re-assuring. Sometimes I just wonder if I am doing right or wrong with my mum - bless her. Then I look at her - frightened and confused - and I know that as long as I always put her interests first I will be doing the right thing.

    My mum has never been into big group activities - she much prefers one to one company so you hit the nail on the head Suzanna1969 - thank you for your suggestions.

    I guess I'll just keep following my gut instincts and hope they serve me well :)
  6. josephinewilson

    josephinewilson Registered User

    May 19, 2015
    Mine too

    Lovahug's comment my mum point blank refused to go anywhere that involved 'being forced to talk to boring old people', she said that when she was 84! applies totally to my mum (aged 85 and diagnosed with vascular dementia earlier this year) :) She's in sheltered accommodation and they have a lounge with various activities which would suit her perfectly except she won't go, making remarks about the old 'uns falling asleep or snoring -or moaning! Fortunately she seems OK in her own flat and the best thing is she accepted daily carer visits I set up which were initially for social reasons but now more to help her her dementia, so she does get one to one attention that she prefers. My mum would never have gone to a communal 'keep fit' or 'bingo' or 'fish and chip supper' in previous years so I guess it makes sense she won't go now.
  7. Tiller Girl

    Tiller Girl Registered User

    May 14, 2012
    Aww bless her! If she doesn't want to go and she's happy at home then surely that's best. Just find things to occupy her......small jigsaws, adult colouring books, wordsearches. I try anything to occupy my OH. He's quite happy doing wordsearches so we do have quite a few !
  8. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Stillinhere, welcome to TP. I'm sorry to hear about the situation with your mother. There is lots of good advice and support available here.

    My mother is 73 and has Alzheimer's type dementia, severely impaired short term memory, and is moderately advanced in her dementia progression. She lives in a care home and has done since February of this year, which is also when her dementia was diagnosed.

    My mother was adamant that she was "happy" and "fine" living alone at home, didn't want to do anything, and also made comments about "old people" whenever anything was suggested to her. She also wanted to stay at home. She liked being alone. She didn't want anybody to tell her what to do, or to have a schedule, or any demands on her at all. Well, that wasn't possible, and now she's in a care facility.

    Plus, that was all the dementia talking. None of it was true: she wasn't fine, she wasn't safe, and she wasn't happy. She was a huge bundle of anxiety and distress, 24/7, she didn't eat, she wasn't clean, her home was filthy and unsafe, the list goes on.

    She is much happier and calmer in the care facility than she has been in YEARS, and I do mean, years. If asked, she will deny that she participates in activities, or say she went but that it was "stupid" or "full of old people who can't remember anything, not like me." When I observe her when she doesn't know I'm there, and talk to the staff, I see and hear a different story. She goes on all the outings and loves them. She goes to most of the activities and enjoys them. Like some of the other relatives mentioned here, she would not have been caught dead doing most of these activities prior to dementia. Maybe she would have enjoyed something HAD SHE TRIED. I'll never know now. I also don't think there's anything wrong with her going to bingo or the quiz or the craft activities, even if she would say she doesn't want to. Nobody is forcing her to attend, participate, or stay; she can walk out of the room at any time. But she stays, and participates. Who knew?

    She is no longer anxious and upset and lonely all the time. She doesn't have to worry about money, the bills, the mail, cleaning, shopping, cooking, driving, her medicine, doctor's appointments, laundry, changing the bed, or any of the other things that were so upsetting for her and made her so miserable. Best of all, she's safe, she's getting the right medications on time, and she is getting good nutrition. All of that is more important than if she's happy when asked, because the only thing that will make her "happy" is to return to living alone, and that's not going to happen.

    Her quality of life is absolutely better where she is, although, again, if asked, she will deny this. Again, that's the dementia talking.

    I just wanted to mention this, in case it's reassuring for anyone facing any kind of a care situation (in home carers, day care, respite, residential placement, whatever) to know that not only can it be okay, it can be BETTER, and never mind what the dementia tells you.

    You know your mum best, and will make the best decisions you can, I'm sure of it.
  9. Suzanna1969

    Suzanna1969 Registered User

    Mar 28, 2015
    There is a Horse Rescue Charity near to us which has an open day on the first Sunday of every month. Mum and Dad used to go a few years ago, Dad can no longer drive and can barely walk which means the uneven ground is totally unsuitable for him, however I took Mum last month and she LOVED it, she really enjoyed stroking the horses' manes and noses and chattered away to them very happily, not a lot of it made sense but of course it didn't matter in the slightest.

    She came away so happy and didn't seem too anxious to get home like she normally would be so I took her to lunch and she had fish and chips which she enjoyed, still talking about the horses.

    (Bruv took Dad out in the Stag for a roar around the Essex countryside so he had a nice time too plus it gave him a break from Mum)

    Stillinhere would your Mum enjoy something like that? Animals do seem to be very beneficial for some dementia sufferers.

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