Vascular dementia

Gemmaluisa

Registered User
Sep 27, 2012
1
0
Hello,

I have just joined this site after questioning on google the prognosis of Vascular dementia and seeing a very supportive community on this site. My Grandad died of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's a few years ago and tragically my grandma, who nursed him for 16 years at home until he died, has recently been given a diagnosis of vascular dementia.

We are all heart broken, she has been getting gradually more forgetful for a few years but had a heart valve replacement surgery 18 months ago and this is when the major downturn in her memory became very obvious. The doc also said it would worsen suddenly, in steps. This week she has gone from knowing us all to forgetting all of us, her son and daughter and her husband, love of her life. She is distressed, and scared as she doesn't know where she is, but physically everything seems to be fine, she is still walking, dressing and going to the toilet. She forgets to eat unless prompted but we have carers going to her home when a family member isn't there.

I guess my question is, her memory is totally going, she cannot remember conversations from 2 minutes ago and has suddenly got massively worse. I guess we are just desperately looking for something, anything that could help her. Is this what usually happens, and very suddenly?

The doctors are saying there is no medication for this type of dementia, she already takes a huge amount of medication for her heart, thyroid, blood pressure etc. ?

thanks for any help you can offer, if any, if not just support,

Gemma
 

malc

Registered User
Aug 15, 2012
353
0
north east lincolnshire
welcome to talking point,all i can suggest is to love her more than ever,enjoy your time with her and be very understanding as time goes on,there isn't any meds to help with vascular dementia that i know of,but there is plenty of help available,don't be afraid to ask for it,my wife's 42 now and had alzheimers for 2 years and i'm glad i've accepted all the help on offer,i wouldn't have coped without it.
 

zigandzag

Registered User
Mar 24, 2012
272
0
Birmingham
Hi GemmaLuisa

Welcome to Talking Point - I'm sorry you are here.

My mum has Vascular Dementia and unfortunately the big clunky downward steps are unfortunately part of this dreadful disease. My mum was recently sectioned (although I didn't know she had Vascular D at the time - this was confirmed whilst she was in the unit).

I'm so sorry that your gran doesn't know you or your family - I cant imagine what that must be like - but I know that that time will come for my mum too and I'm dreading it.

I too have learned that there are no meds for Vascular D and as Malc says enjoy your time with your gran now and make the best of the "good" moments when the opportunity arises.

There are lots of kind people on this forum who are all going through this dreadful journey - keep posting - unfortunately nobody can provide a miracle cure - but it really does help to know that other people are here to support you in your hours/days of need and really do understand and care.

Sending you peace xx
 

FifiMo

Registered User
Feb 10, 2010
4,705
0
Wiltshire
Hi GemmaLuisa,

As everyone has said, this downward spiral can occur as part of the progression of Vascular Dementia, however, given that there is a big decline overnight, it might be worth checking whether she has a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) as this can often cause rapid deterioration in people with dementia. It is always worth ruling out infections before accepting that what is happening is just a further progression and decline.

Is this the first time that she has forgotten you all? Sometimes you can find that they might forget who you are because the confusion has been exaccerbated by say lack of sleep or increased agitation, things like that. It could also be that she no longer understands the hierarchy of the family unit and where everyone fits into it. She must know that you are people who are familiar to her as she is comfortable around you and is not distressed to the point that she thinks her house has been invaded by strangers. My mum had periods like this where she would look vacantly at you but still be quite relaxed to be in your company. If you were to ask her do you know who I am (the question that you shouldn't ask if you don't want to hear the answer) she would laugh and say nope, but i know that i know you. Next day she would greet me by caling me by my name. It continued like this - good days - bad days - for a very long time. But we didn't lose the fact that we were familiar to her even if she couldn't remember why.

Malc is right, the best thing that you can do is to make sure she is safe and secure and contented. Spend time with her - that is the most precious thing that can be given. Enjoy the moments that will always appear, even if they are just fleeting.

Hope this helps,

Fiona
 

lin1

Registered User
Jan 14, 2010
9,350
0
East Kent
Hello Gemma
Welcome to TP
I am sorry to hear about your grandma
Fiona has already said what I was going to say about UTI (urinary tract infections) so do get a sample of urine tested just in case

The elderly and people with Dementia often have no outward signs of any infection (silent) eg a temperature except for a sudden worsening of dementia symptoms
 

Lizjg

Registered User
Dec 29, 2011
101
0
Near Newark / Grantam
Hi
My mum also has vascular dementia but she is on rivastigmine patches, she has 9.5 patch one day and the 4.6 patch the next day. I don't know just how much they help, but before being on them she was hallucinating a lot. If she is just on the lower dose patch her memory doesn't seem so good, however if she is just on the higher dose patch (she was on it for 3/4 days as she ran out of the lower dose and was due to see her consultant after that period of time) she did nothing but sleep and was very unsteady on her feet. I also think she is on some oral medication but not sure what but can find out for you if you are interested. I don't know if any of this is any help to you, but it may be worth asking your doctor about the patches.
My mum also can't remember what has happened earlier that day nor can she have a proper conversation with you any longer. She doesn't recognise me nor my dad nor remembers my name (I see her at least once a week) but she can remember my sister's name (who lives out in Florida and sees for a week or so once a year). I tell myself that is to to with the fact that I am known as Elisabeth /Liz/ Liza / Lizzie / number 2 daughter and Mum whereas my sister is only ever called Caroline. I have now come to terms with her not knowing who I am but find it extremely distressing when I tell her that I am her daughter and she apologises for not knowing me! My advice spend as much time as you can with your grandma, give her lots of hugs and tell her over and over again that you love her.
 

Harriet66

Registered User
Mar 23, 2011
91
0
Losartan

Hi Gemma,

I'm so sorry to hear about your grandma. It may be worth speaking to her GP about using Losartan to treat her high blood pressure. My husband who has subcortical vascular dementia was put on this drug at the beginning of the year and it certainly seems to have made him sharper and less forgetful. It is an angiotensin receptor antagonist and isn't often used because it is expensive [our GP had to justify her use of it for him in a practice meeting]. However it has been shown to provide significantly beneficial effects on dementia patients in trials in the Netherlands. I'm not saying that it would help in your grandma's case, but it could be worth asking about it.

Best wishes,

Harriet
 

faithy

Registered User
Jul 31, 2013
61
0
Worcester, Massachusetts
Hello,

I have just joined this site after questioning on google the prognosis of Vascular dementia and seeing a very supportive community on this site. My Grandad died of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's a few years ago and tragically my grandma, who nursed him for 16 years at home until he died, has recently been given a diagnosis of vascular dementia.

We are all heart broken, she has been getting gradually more forgetful for a few years but had a heart valve replacement surgery 18 months ago and this is when the major downturn in her memory became very obvious. The doc also said it would worsen suddenly, in steps. This week she has gone from knowing us all to forgetting all of us, her son and daughter and her husband, love of her life. She is distressed, and scared as she doesn't know where she is, but physically everything seems to be fine, she is still walking, dressing and going to the toilet. She forgets to eat unless prompted but we have carers going to her home when a family member isn't there.

I guess my question is, her memory is totally going, she cannot remember conversations from 2 minutes ago and has suddenly got massively worse. I guess we are just desperately looking for something, anything that could help her. Is this what usually happens, and very suddenly?

The doctors are saying there is no medication for this type of dementia, she already takes a huge amount of medication for her heart, thyroid, blood pressure etc. ?

thanks for any help you can offer, if any, if not just support,

Gemma

Welcome,
I am also new to this site - the people are so friendly - I am glad I came.
 

Love&Light

Registered User
Jul 22, 2013
26
0
Hi,

Can I add to the comments re: UTI's which have at times had a major impact on my partner who has VD. When he gets one the decline and bizarre behaviours are unbelievable. He becomes totally confused but once the UTI has been treated he has always picked up.

Another thing I really need to keep an eye on is his fluid intake as even slight dehydration has a similair effect.

From personal experience if he starts to dip suddenly these are my first two checks.

Hope things pick up for you, sending you love and light x