Vascular dementia is one of the most heart-breaking diseases that people may encounter in their later years. As the second most common form of dementia in the US, behind Alzheimer’s, sufferers and their loved ones will embark on a journey with several stages that may last years.
Vascular dementia has its own specific set of symptoms, distinguishable from other kinds, in particular by the presence of hallucinations and vision problems. Examples of these are below:
- Delusions or hallucinations
- Poor bladder control
- Short term memory loss
- Reduced concentration and balance
- Poor decision making, such as financially, with planning, or with organization
When your loved one is diagnosed, it can be incredibly hard to see a way through to a more positive outlook. But there are strategies to cope with Vascular dementia that you can use to make the transition, and indeed the journey through the disease, more manageable for both you and them.
Let them talk to you about their feelings
On diagnosis, it can feel overwhelming and like you are going to lose your loved one there and then. This often isn’t the case, and so it is important that while the diagnosed person can that they talk to you about both their feelings and their wishes for the future. Even though this can feel like a supremely negative conversation, being able to clarify and fulfill someone’s wishes, whether it be to go into a particular care home or end of life instructions, will mean that when the time comes, you will feel confident that everything you do is in their best interests. It will also help to preserve your loved one’s dignity, as they will be cared for in the manner they wished until the end.
Promote a healthy diet
Different foods have different benefits, not least for your brain. Even when someone has been diagnosed with dementia, giving them a diet that will best enhance their cognitive processes is a must. These include leafy greens for vitamin E, grains and legumes for B vitamins, and berries for vitamin C. Don’t forget fatty fish, which has also been proven time and time again to help to keep your brain in fighting condition.
Stick to a routine
Although it can be frustrating to be beholden to a routine day in and day out when all you want is a little spontaneity, for someone that has vascular dementia, any sudden change in their day can be frightening and confusing for them. Following an easy routine will allow them to feel more in control and at ease with both their surroundings, and the day-to-day jobs they are still able to perform, such as a walk into town or even brushing their teeth! It can be difficult to help them stick to this routine, though, when you hold down a job, have a family, or need to keep a social life for your own mental well-being. This is why, quite often, people find it easier to reach out to help and place their loved one in a memory care home that specifically cares for those with vascular dementia. Each care plan here is tailored to the restdent and enables them to stick to a routine that works for them.
Find someone that you can talk to
As the primary carer for your person with dementia, you are not helping them if you do not take care of yourself. Being able to express your feelings, both positive and negative, about your situation is vital to your mental well-being. If there is not a close friend or family member to alleviate yourself to, then there are several charities in the US that run support groups for dementia carers. Here you will find support groups, both physical and online, as well as tips to keep yourself healthy.