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Vascular Dementia - accepting the next stage - Carers UK Forum

Vascular Dementia - accepting the next stage

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
Hello Everyone,

This is my first post, bear with me.

A bit of background: 3 years ago when my dad passed away it became noticeable that mum was loosing her short term memory.
I persuaded her to go to the doctor to get her assessed which was very stressful for me because she did not want to know in fear that me and my sister was going to put her away in a home. My sister was not very understanding at the time as that was what she would have done and she did at times vocalise this which put more pressure on the situation.
We got referred to the local mental hospital (that in it's self also upset and unsettled mum) and they took scans and assessed her. She'd had a mini stroke and was at the early stages of having vascular dementia.

I commit to looking after her 2 days a week as I do need to have a living working 2 part time jobs one for a company and the other working for myself which has over the past 2 years helped give me flexibility.
A lot of change all at once which has been challenging & emotional......

I'm at the stage when my mum still lives in her own home and she is struggling taking her morning and evening medication. It's come to a head this week. Her ability to process in her mind and believe that the pouches I've prepared for her all labelled and also with support of a prompting medication welfare call, when someone talks though what she needs to take and how to take it. Mum has also had a paranoia with taking medication all her life, she can't swallow pill so has to chew with a biscuit or have liquid or dissolvable.

I know deep down that it's getting to the stage that she will need morning and evening carer visits to help her take her medication. I'm just finding it hard to accept and let go. I really felt this week that I'm starting to loose my mum. I want her and she wants to be as independent as possible. She does have a people phobia so I just know that a care home would deteriorate her (although if her condition got to the stage that she was bed bound and could not do anything for herself then I would look into this). She does so well with the help and support I've got in place like lunches delivered every afternoon, Carer one hour a week to help with household chores, Panic alarm installed, food shop delivered. All these things have helped me get a balance with caring and working.

I do feel on my own shouldering everything, although my partner is a great emotional support which helps....

It has helped writing my thoughts and feeling down in this post and I hope it may help others... when the time is right you will also know when to share.....
Hi Tracey and welcome to the forum.
There's lots of people here who will identify with you.
You've done really well so far, however it is worth rembering the dementia is a disease that as it progresses does mean that the care needs become more than one person can cope with and most sufferers do go into a Home because of their safety needs.
It's best to make no promises now, other than to say to yourself and to mum that you will make sure she is cared for.
You will not be able to do it alone and it might be worth introducing new people sooner rather than later if she already has issues in that area.

Have you got POAs set up.? Well worth it especially if there is a sibling with differing views, as many of us know.

Read the posts on here and you'll see theres many people on the same journey of losing a loved one and the feeling that go with it. It's a supportive and understanding place so do please keep posting
Hi Tracey, welcome to the forum. Sadly a number of members are going through the same heart breaking process as you. Can I ask how old mum is? Does she own her house? Do you own yours? Does she have over £23,000 in savings. Just yes/no answers are fine. Unfortunately, there are a number of options which you will soon need to consider, but they will be limited by financial issues, hence the questions. For example, if mum doesn't have any money and is in rented property, Social Services should pay for all her care. However, if she owns her house and has significant savings, they will not pay for any of her care. House and no savings - they will pay for domiciliary care. It is really important that you know what the options are, because sometimes people deteriorate very quickly, and you need a plan. For some, it's better to employ a member of the family and pay proper wages, as residential care costs even more, around £1100 a week.
Thank you MrsA & boulingbun for your replies. It's good to read other people's experiences to know your not alone. Mums 82 years old, she owns her own home and I own my own home. We do get AA which has helped with the extra care/support that's currently in place and she will come under the lower threshold for what assets she has. For me at the moment is to accept the next stage in this challenging journey for mum and me , which once I talk with social services and get the assessment sorted then I know I'll feel more at ease with the situation.
Many of us struggle with the gradual decline of a much loved parent. I'm afraid there are no easy answers, however she is very lucky to have you near enough and willing to support her. The more support you have, the longer she will be able to stay at home. In the meantime, think about streamlining her home as much as possible. Has she got a washing machine and tumble dryer, or a washer/dryer, for example? Is her garden as easy care as possible? A few minutes saved here and there by "mechanical slaves" soon add up.
Hi Tracey
Welcome to the forum, I have found it very useful and everyone so supportive. You seem to be doing a fantastic job. My own Mum is 84 and is in second stage vascular dementia (or moderate as they call it). I have watched the progression of this disease, having had no experience of any elderly relative. It is a horrible condition, but it does have some good points, 1. My Mum is unaware anymore that she has any problems. 2. It appears (this may not be true for all) that it robs her of the present, so she can still enjoy things that she used to enjoy e.g watching a film but then she forgets she has watched so will choose it again. 3. So far apart from a few very bad moods it does not appear to be affecting her behaviour towards people. Our family have developed a motto for this Vascular Dementia it's "your not aware, and if you repeat yourself we don't care". We always agree to anything she says.

I tend to introduce things slowly to my Mum, and keep it simple as if there is a lot going on in her house and people coming and going it makes her more confused. I have waited a while for SS assessment and no date in sight, but in the mean time have had an occupational therapist and physio therapist working with Mum to help organise and recommend things to support her independence. The physio has been great as Mum started to shuffle, apparently this can because of forgetting to step properly.

Recently her Grandson bought her two goldfish in a bowl and she has been delighted to have something to look after, (mothering instinct I guess) she feeds the fish in the morning and then takes her tablets. She seems more able to remember if it is in association rather than isolation. However sometimes she thinks she has done something when she has not. Often if you talk about something she will say " I was only thinking about that last night".

Bowlingbun gave me some very good advise and is right to ask about POW but if Mum refuses you can ask DWP to be appointed person, or if Mum agrees to be third party on any accounts. You may see my first posts on here were that it took me a while to realise I had become a career, and family issues. I have now contacted and got some serious support as do not think it is possible to care for someone with Vascular Dementia on your own and not become very stresses and ill yourself. When people refer to be as her career I always so "no I am her daughter". Now that I don't to everything we are managing to have some trips out and some enjoyment.

Please update us as to how you are doing. Remember you are not alone in coping with this. Xxx