Looking after a patient with any form of dementia takes extra effort but vascular dementia can be a particularly challenging form of the disease. For this reason, it is usually recommended that this type of patient is cared for by someone who has a wide range of experience in caring for dementia sufferers.
Many people find that when a loved one develops this terrible condition it is helpful to turn to a specialist in-home care agency and who can supply carers with just this kind of experience.
What is Vascular Dementia?
According to figures provided by the NHS, vascular dementia affects around 150,000 people in the UK today and is the most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. The primary cause is brain damage, for instance following a stroke but it can be genetic. Symptoms can include:
- Changes in mood or personality including becoming aggressive or violent
- Feeling confused and unable to concentrate
- Difficulties with making plans or understanding things
- Slower thought process
- Difficulties with balance and walking
- Sudden nocturnal wandering
There is no cure for vascular dementia, and it is a progressive condition which can strike out of the blue or build up over time. Treatments are mainly based around lifestyle issues so include things such as losing weight, eating healthily and stopping smoking alongside medications such as those used to treat high blood pressure or high cholesterol where necessary. Physiotherapy, occupational therapy or memory cafés may be offered in certain areas of the UK.
How to Cope
Living with and caring for a person with any form of dementia can be challenging and where that person is becoming aggressive, which happens with some vascular dementia patients, it can be distressing as well particularly if they are still in the home. When the challenge becomes too much home care services and a professional dementia carer could be the answer. But there are ways in which you can help to make life easier and calmer for your loved one at home.
For those living with and caring for a vascular dementia sufferer one of the most important aspects of care centres around managing the emotions and that applies to both patient and carer.
In the early days of the disease the sufferer may not realise what is happening at first but soon they will and may start to become angry and frustrated which is not only upsetting for them but also frightening for the family member closest to them. Rather than avoiding contact with the dementia patient the key is to keep talking to them and just be there for them as reassurance.
Ask for as much help as you need to manage the situation including from carers, other family members and friends even if that help comes in the form of letters or facetiming. Talk to their doctor to ensure they are getting the correct medications to manage any other health issues. And devise a programme which allows them to keep up with a healthy eating and exercise routine as this will help with general wellbeing and sleep routines.