Taking Care of Mother- Vascular Dementia

What is Vascular Dementia?

From the day I was told my Mother had "probable" Dementia, I have researched a ton of information, talked to a lot of Doctors , and I am still trying to understand how this disease works, the differences in all the different types of Dementia. I now know my Mother has the Vascular type of Dementia. This type of Dementia basically restricts the flow of blood to the brain usually via blockages which cause strokes or mini-strokes, as in my Mom's case. There are other causes for this type of Dementia as well, that can cause damage to the blood vessels and reduce circulations, such as, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. Mom also had these which is probably what kicked off the mini-strokes in the beginning but we didn't know this at the time.

Vascular Dementia Symptoms:

Vascular Dementia Symptoms include the following, but understand, depending on what part of the brain is affected, not all may appear in the beginning and usually declines with further damage or another stroke or mini-stroke, as in Mom;s case.

  • Confusion
  • Trouble paying attention and concentrating
  • Reduced ability to organize thoughts or actions
  • Decline in ability to analyze a situation, develop an effective plan and communicate that plan to others
  • Difficulty deciding what to do next
  • Problems with memory
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Unsteady gait
  • Sudden or frequent urge to urinate or inability to control passing urine
  • Depression

The Early Warning Signs

Looking back, I thought most of what was happening to Mom was just normal with age progression. Little things like she would call me twice in a row and then ask me, " Did I just talk to you?" and I would say, "Yes." and we would laugh it off as she said, " I think I'm losing my mind!"

Then, she would call me in a panic because this woman that once was able to manage her money and bills to the penny was forgetting to pay them or paying them twice and bouncing checks. I started having to help her monthly to pay her bills and she would still forget and send some one a check until I took her checkbook away from her and she didn't like that at all.

The scariest time was the day she was on her way to my house for a visit and she called me from the side of the road in a panic because she didn;t know where she was and she couldn't remember how to get to my house, a 45 minute trip she had made several times a year for the last 5 years. I had to get her to calm down and find me a street sign with a name on it and talk her through directions until she finally recognized where she was and could continue driving to my house and all she kept saying was, " I feel like I'm losing my mind."

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