Vascular Dementia


Registered User
Oct 22, 2003
My mother, who is 89, suffers from Vascular Dementia. She has recently become resident in an EMI Nursing Home as she is no longer able to care for herself at home. We have bought her up from Cornwall to Kent so that the family can visit her regularly, which we couldn't do so much with her living in Cornwall. She is taking medication such as Aricept and tranquilisers etc. The trouble is that she does not accept that she cannot care for herself and packs everyday to go home. It causes upset everytime we visit (and I do visit about 4 times a week as I work and can only go in the evenings and weekends). Also, she has become quite aggressive to the staff in the nursing home, even hitting them sometimes. I have been told that this is part of the illness, but find it very difficult to understand. The staff are extremely kind and patient to her but does anyone know why this happens. It always seems to be towards the evening when it starts. When I tackle her about it she appears not to know that she has done it.

I would appreciate someone else's experiences of this.

I would be grateful if you could


Registered User
Oct 21, 2003
hi mione
my mum was 53 when she got vascular dementia
she is now 61,she became aggressive later on in her illness when she could no longer deal with her own personal hygiene in the bathroom, so i had to help her.
I think she felt frustrated and embarassed,so she just hit out ,it lasted about 9 months. she did not know she had done this to me when asked about it,and it did upset me at the time but I learnt how to help her through this.

hope this may be of some help...



Registered User
Oct 17, 2003

My Mum has also just moved into an EMI Nursing Home after being with us for 8 years, 5 with Lewy Body Dementia. Her admisssion was prompted by a rapid deterioration and catastrophic reaction while on holiday. She was very agressive to me and tried to kick and hit. A home was the only answer as she also became chair bound and has hallucinations and delusions. Mum is still agressive in the home she has only been there for a few weeks but the staff say she is settling down a bit. But I think she still has screaming fits, smashes cups, and hits out and wants to leave. She is 79 very frail but makes her presence felt. It did used to upset me, but it is part of the disease, bourne out of frustration, too many instructions flying around a confused brain. Often inhibitions are lost hense bad language and inapropiate behaviour also develop. I found many useful books in the library that explained the various kinds of challenging behaviour that Dementia patients can have. Mum's behaviour has not changed but I think I can now handle it much better,

I hope you start feeling better about things soon




Registered User
Oct 23, 2003
West Sussex
Hi Geraldine, my mum has vascular dementia/alz too. She is 78 and has lived with us for the last two years. Like your mum, she too has catastrophic reactions at times. She often gets agitated late afternoon and evenings, they call it "Sundowning syndrome" when we see her start to get an idea in her head that is not possible, e.g. going out to a non existant shop because she thinks she is living in a house she had years ago, we try to get her interested in something else, cup of tea, an article in the paper (the gory ones work best for some reason!) or a chat on the phone with her sister or granddaughter, any thing to change the thought basically. Some times it works, other times it doesn't. If it doesn't, then we have to go into what we call lock down. We lock the front door and remove the key, shut the baby gate we now have at the bottom of the stairs and lock the back gate. We then just go with the flow if we can till she wears herself out walking up and down. I know it sounds awful, but it is safer than when she has got out and done a runner because she just doesn't look and walks straight out into the road. After a while she gets a bit puffed and then we give her a cup of tea and she sits down again till the next time. On the occassions when nothing works, she shouts, yells, hits us, me mostly and is generally horrid. They sometimes last as long as six hours. Last time I ended up surfing the net for a home to put her in. Then she got sleepy, I put her to bed and by the next morning, you forgive because its the illness, not the person and just start all over again!!
She also packs some nights. She was just screwing everything up at first, using the bag from the waste bin, a pillow case etc. which was exasperating. Then I hit on the idea of leaving her little respite case in the corner. Now if she packs, she folds it neatly and I just hang it up again later! She often does this in the middle of the night, I have a baby alarm, and so I lay and listen to her until she gets tired and gets back into bed, it saves a confrontation which only causes her to get agitated. At the moment she thinks she is on holiday and packing to come home. She says she doesn't think much of the hotel though!!! (Thanks mum!)
I don't know if any of this is any help, Oh, and I usually have a vodka and orange once she's calmed down to calm me down when all else fails!!
Best wishes,


Registered User
May 28, 2003
Hi Mione
As the others have detailed, packing to go "home" really is quite a normal symptom of dementia, and is caused by the memory loss that the person has. They do not believe that where they are is there home, becuase according to their memory, home is another place within their mind. This really can vary, it usually is the home that they where brought up as a child, but it can be other previous homes, and even non exsistant places. Trying to convince the person that they are mixed up really does nothing to calm the situation.
You say you tackle Mum about her behaviour. She wont remember what she has done, and no amount of reasoning will convince her that she did do these things because her brain just has not retained this information, and seeing as there is nothing wrong with her brain, you must be trying to trick her, or even lying to her!
ese symptoms do cause more problems in the evenings
as the person is, basically tired, and their brain is tired.

Please be assured that nurses/carers in a nursing home would have had more specialist training to deal with the symptoms of dementia, nd so will have better skills at dealing with these outbursts.


Registered User
Oct 22, 2003
To Geraldine, Sheila and Angela.

Thanks so much for all your replies. It has helped a lot to understand that this is a normal part of the illness and to just go with the flow.

I liked the idea of a stiff drink in the evenings to calm myself down!!!

Everything you have told me seems to me to be exactly the symptons my mother is having, i.e. the packing of clothes, the disbelieving of where she is and thinking we are all lying to her. Not realising that there is anything wrong with her and having halucinations. Although we have noticed it does seem to get worse in the evenings and I didn't realise that there was a name for this - "Sundowner syndrome".

After reading all your helpful replies I have realised that all my mother's symptons are the norm and it does help to understand this.

Thanks a lot for all your help.