Vascular dementia & blindness

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by AndyG, Dec 29, 2005.

  1. AndyG

    AndyG Registered User

    Dec 29, 2005
    Hi all
    My mother (age 78) has recently been diagnosed with vascular dementia and she is also almost totally blind (glaucoma) She lives alone - or has done until recently - with limited informal care (cleaner, neighbour doing shopping, family providing meals etc). We, her children and a neighbour are currently staying with her 24/7 but this won't be possible indefinitely.

    Has anyone out there experience of caring for someone with this double whammy? If so, was it possible for the person concerned to live safely at home without constant care, or is this simply unrealistic?

    Current symptoms are
    Short-term memory loss
    Disorientation (e.g thinkinbg she's still in hospital)
    Hallucinations (believes she can still see among other things)
    Any advice would be gratefully received

    Thanks - and Happy New Year
  2. Mjaqmac

    Mjaqmac Registered User

    Mar 13, 2004
    Dear Andy

    I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My mother had her sight, but even if she had not, simply with the dementia alone it would have been impossible for her to live alone.

    You and your family are doing a great job caring but it probably will become very difficult for you all. If your mother has to go into full time care don't look on it as a defeat but as a safe secure environment where your mum can receive care and attention and you can still all visit her with the pressure off of trying to juggle your own lives around this illness. I'm sure some of the others on this site will come up with some good advice, but it really doesn't sound a realistic option for your mother to be able to cope living alone.
  3. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dar Andy,

    So sorry to hear of your problems. Magic is right I think. You really do need to get some help organised fairly immediately. In my opinon, your mother needs a secure and safe environment as soon it can possibly be organised. Please do not delay with this.

  4. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    Andy, Congratulations on having managed so far with the 'informal care' network which you & your family & friends pulled together for your mother. Without them (& you of course) I am sure your mother would have had move into a care home years ago. You have all done a terrific job & should be very proud of yourselves.

    However, as you yourselves obviously realise now, it can't go on much longer like that. The potential for an accident is growing daily, especially with the disorientation, hallucinations & night wandering. Please, please start to make moves with a view to getting Mum into somewhere where she will be safe from herself (sorry, that's what it amounts to). It may take a while to find somewhere suitable which has a vacancy, and it will be easier to settle her now rather than later. I know, without a shadow of doubt, that all your Mum's support team will be frequent & much-welcomed visitors, but after such a supreme effort thay all (& you) deserve to get their own lives back too. I salute you all.
  5. AndyG

    AndyG Registered User

    Dec 29, 2005
    #5 AndyG, Dec 30, 2005
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2005
    Very many thanks,all . A lot of food for thought. We've got Social Services coming in in the New Year to do an assessment and we're staying open-minded about where we go next until that's done and we've a clear picture of what - if anything - they can do to fill the gaps and enable Mom to stay in her own home.

    I'm sure this is a common dilemna but it's new to us.You've mentioned safety as the priority and there's obvious danger to a blind person with VAD living alone, or even living in a "normal " house with carers coming in on a 24 hour rota. However:

    Where do you strike the balance between safety and happiness? Mom might be marginally safer in a care home ( though since most of them have a lot of hard floors, and will inevitably be a totally alien geography to her I'm not even convinced of that ) but is it worth sacrificing the relative contentment and sense of security she gets from being in her own place to attain an only slightly decreased risk of danger?

    Additionally we've found that the more stimulus she gets from conversation with us, the more she seems to retain her lucidity. (and, yes, I know it may only be early days yet). In a care home she'll be efffectively locked into her own head all day, with minimal stimulus, and my guess is that she'll decline very fast.

    Or does anyone know better?

    Thanks again
  6. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    it's a dilemma, but I take the view that often, family know best. That is, if they are in daily touch with the person affected.

    Safety of that person comes first. How would Mom be happier if safety was disregarded and an accident happened? How would you and your family feel in such a situation?

    And that is the huge responsibility we all bear, sometimes crushing us [me, anyway :( ].

    At some stage in any case, her current home will not seem her home to her. Ideally, that is a good time to move her, but I suggest you await the assessment.

    Then assess the results yourselves. Work out a series of graded preferences, starting with her staying at home. What help might she need. What help would actually be possible? etc. Be realistic.

    Vascular dementia means a mini stroke could happen any time, when she is alone for example. In a care home this would [hopefully] be picked up quickly. Unless you are always there [as you say, not possible] or visit daily and carers go in to her home daily covering most of the day, that won't necessarily be the case.

    Wait for the assessment. Take each day as it comes. Grit your teeth.

    Best wishes

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