New User

Joan Clark

Registered User
Apr 11, 2008
1
Berkhamsted
Hello one and all.
This is my first post.
My dad has vascular dementia - at least that is the nearest I have been given to a diagnosis as his doctor has seemed reluctant to actually state a firm diagnosis:(
With hindsight, I think he has shown signs of this for over 3 years but only in the last 2 years have I been actively trying to obtain medical confirmation.
Dad has acknowledged he has memory problems for about a year now, but seems unaware of the increasing severity of his problem.
Until 5 weeks ago Dad lived on his own with me visiting each evening and all day Saturday. About 7 or 8 weeks ago I think he suffered a mini-stroke, or maybe even more, which made me decide that I had to find a suitable care home as he became very confused, anxious and prone to falling over. (Unfortunately - like almost everyone else, I'm sure - I have to work and am unable to give him round the clock support)
Dad seemed to settle in to the care home fairly well - a little disoriented for a few days, but joined in the daily activities and appeared to make friends - in the first 3 weeks;sadly, there has been a huge deterioration in the last 2 weeks, more confused,extremely anxious and now finds it difficult to assimilate either spoken or written 'instructions'.
I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for ways to let Dad know what is going on day-to-day, as the 'cards' I have written in the past showing what he has to do on any particular day are unintelligible to him now, but he still wants/needs to know 'What do I do now/next?'.
Sorry that this is such a long-winded introduction to me - I'm just at a loss as to how to help him!
 

Lucille

Registered User
Sep 10, 2005
542
Hello Joan

Welcome to TP and sorry to hear about your dad - especially his sudden deterioration.

I can't offer any suggestions to keep him 'anchored' in terms of instructions for him so he knows what's what. But, I'm sure someone who has had to deal with this, will post soon. The only thing I would say, after re-reading your post, would be to keep on writing the cards for your dad. If he has lost the faculty to read or understand them, is it doing any harm to continue, just so that he feels you are keeping the lines of communication open? The only other thing might be picture cards, see: http://www.speechteach.co.uk/p_resource/speech/picture_cards.htm See also this thread; it might be of use: http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/talkingpoint/discuss/showthread.php?p=130268

Let us know how you get on.

Take care
 

pinkjandt

Registered User
Apr 11, 2008
25
hampshire
Hi Joan

I am new to site too,having just been to hospital and had confirmed AD on my husband,so I am scouring the forum for ideas and help for everyday difficulties

But I have had a similar problem with Terry,and we have found that a whiteboard placed in a prominent place with simple instructions or dates etc works quite well

Terry spends a lot of time just stood in front of board,but when i removed it for a morning he became quite agitated so i think it is his anchor

I hope this helps

regards
Jan
 

blue sea

Registered User
Aug 24, 2005
270
England
Hello Joan
I'm sorry to hear of your dad's deterioration. It's good that he had settled into the home, however. It is very common with vascular dementis for there to be sudden declines like this, often followed by a 'plateau', with no change for some time. My own experience when my dad at this stage was that he needed something to refer to / look at, even if he couldn't actually understand what it meant. For example he liked to have a piece of paper in his drawer with my address on; even though he could no longer read the address, it made him feel better. It's really trial and error. I wouldn't worry too much whether your dad can understand, the main thing is to find ways of reassuring him that he is safe. I would keep using anything familiar that makes him feel better. Routines can help a lot. For example looking through the same set of photos each visit. Try out ways of answering his question 'what do I do next?' with deflecting answers ( e.g. Don't worry, dad, someone will come and tell you'), then change the subject. The anxiety is likely to be a recurring feature of this stage. Your dad's GP may advise a mild anti depressant to help him feel calmer - could be worth discussing. My dad was prescribed prozac for a while and it did take the edge off his anxiety during this stage of the dementia.
Blue sea