Vascular Dementia

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
Hi my dad has vascular dementia and his short term memory is very poor. I went to visit him in the care home last night and he could not remember my sister visiting him on saturday from liverpool. He is slowly deteriorating and has lost a lot of weight. The care home he is in look after him well so no complaints there. He is very slow eating his meals so the carers let him eat in his own time which can take several hours but at least he is eating. He will read the paper by turning the pages but not reading it then start again. He still thinks he is working and living with his mother. He knows us but very rarely speaks about my mum who died 6 years ago. Image
I know that it must be very hard for you, having first hand experience working with people with Dementia, I have seen what family's go through. I worked in a Dementia Unit for 1 and a half years, previously working a Residential Home, also having patients with cases of dementia. I was wondering if you have had chance to read up on Vascular Dementia, and had any sort of incite to what happens? And questions I would be glad to help as best as I could from my experiences, bearing in mind I am not a doctor. Just a care worker who had had experience with this kind of illness.
Sarah xx
dear sarah thank you for reply and your offer of help. i have looked on the internet but it does not tell me what to expect. i am hoping to go on a course at the local college for one day, hopefully it will give me more of an insight into the condition. Image
I did a course not so long ago on about Dementia, it was only a one day course but I did find it quite interesting. So I have been looking through the information which I collected and things which I have read and got at home. Vascular dementia is also called Multi Infarct or arteriosclerotic. Which occurs when an area of the tissue in the brain has been destroyed. Damage may result from a stroke where the blood supply is cut off in that area unfortunately causing permanent damage. Has your dad had a stroke at all? And sadly there is nothing which can reverse the progression of the dementia, medication can only lessen the progression. The dementia can go from mild symptoms like forgetfulness to impairments of thinking and preforming day to day activities. However people with Vascular dementia may show signs of improvement or stay at a stable stage for a long period of time but then quickly start to show new symptoms. Vascular dementia can also be caused by high blood pressure.
You dad may experience problems communication and concentrating, may suffer from depression, if he has had a stroke which has caused the dementia there may be signs of weakness there, memory problems although this may not be one of the first symptoms, he could remain at a certain level in his dementia not noticing any changes then suddenly there could be a big decrees in his condition. Other symptoms I have found are hallucinations seeing things that don't exist, in my experience this can be anything from, pets, children family members that are no longer living, to items of furniture that sort of thing. Also delusions believing things that are not true, again in my experience people having things pinched from them, saying that such a such a person has done something to another. Wandering around is a big one, I find that people with dementia in the early to mid stages tend to wander around alot wanting to get out, to go somewhere they haven't been for year, like going back to their childhood home. Sometimes physical and verbal aggression may occur. Even if the person was the nicest kindest person who would never talk or hurt someone. They might develop this symptom. Many of the people I have looked after their family's have been ever so shocked at the way the client has been, because they have never know their relitive to be like that. Restlessness, day turning into night and night turning into day sleeping patterns may be disturbed, disorientation if taken out may occur also. Or new surroundings. Also incontinence with the part of the brain not working sometimes this lessens the signals to say lets go to the toilet, and the become more frequently incontinent.

I could sit here and talk all night about my experience, if you want me to give you a detailed describtion of looking after a client with dementia is like I can do so, but its whether you would like the whole experience. I am willing to try and help you understand, but its not a easy thing to come to terms with. I have found it very hard with family's who cannot understand. It is a horrible illness to have, but there are plenty of good people out there who can make your life and your dads life so much easier, the help is out there if you want it and people like me who do their hardest to give them the best quality of life.

I hope I have helped a little, sorry for rambling on. Hope all is well Sarah xx
Hello Sarah. Thanks for the information. It is good to talk to someone who understands what to expect with dementia. We had to put dad in a care home because he was wandering. He even went out of the hospital twice but now I know he is safe and well cared for. He had mini strokes with no physical impairment, bit it left the dementia. I know when he has another stroke because he becomes aggressive, and attacks the staff, then reverts to his normal self. Fortunately this is not very often. He takes a dislike to certain people then they are his best friends. He still has his sense of humour which is great. He can't remember who visits him and says that no-one has been, even though he has five children who visit regularly. His continence is being monitered at the moment but it is not a big problem at the moment, he just needs reminding. If I take him any goodies he doesn't know when to stop eating them so I have to remove them. The one thing I don't understand is why he does not ask why he is in the home? Pauline