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Vascular Dementia - Father's Diagnosis and Behaviors
My father was diagnosed with vascular dementia a while ago now. He is pretty self-sufficient in terms of day-to-day things like dressing, preparing food, following a set schedule. He mostly has difficulties with short-term memories. With that, some long-term memories are coming to the service. When he was very young he only spoke Italian. Over the years he forgot more and more of it, but now all of a sudden he is remembering more of it. Every time we see Dad he says the same Italian sayings over and over again... He is also telling the same stories over and over again. When I see him on Wednesday, he tells me the same story he told me on Monday... and over and over again. My mother who is with him daily is about ready to go crazy. So if hearing the same things over and over for me is tiring, they are even more so for her. My mother who is in her early 80s, is being worn down from the daily struggles from answering the same questions time after time, hearing the same stories, etc. Another issue is that my dad isn't always appropriate with what he says.
When in public he likes to go up to folks to chat. For example, at a restaurant he will walk up to a couple while they are eating and say in Italian, "Mangia, Mangia, do you know what that means?" Of course the couple just looks up with that look of "who are you and what do you want" but eventually they usually end up chatting with him to be polite. When I was in a store once he asked a sales person if they had any marijuana.
With all of that said, this whole thing is wearing my mother down and she is very depressed and is getting more and more resentful. When someone is not to the point of needing daily care, what can be done for the caregiver? My sisters and I try to provide as much support as we can, but we don't have to deal all day, every day.
I'm sorry to read about your father. It really is sad. I think that supporting your mother is very important and providing her with respite time is crucial. She needs time to get away, relax and recharge her batteries. If the family can't step in and help, I'd explore a facility that he could stay for her to have breaks. Also, I'd make sure your dad has signed all the proper documents like DPOA, HCPOA, etc.
I know that the repeating can be extremely tiring and frustrating, but, there really isn't any solution to this, that I know of. In most cases that I know, this behavior eventually subsided, but, new issues may take its place. I think the constant repeating with my LO (cousin) who has Vascular Dementia lasted about a year.
With my LO, she was able to run her own household and then her progression was so great that she needed AL suddenly. Then, after she went into AL, she needed MC in a couple of months. She became wheelchair bound and double incontinent in just a few months, so, things can go fast. In light of your mother's exhaustion, I'd consult with her and together explore options for his care, whether it's outside care coming in or placement.
Many people think that dementia is just memory loss, but, it's so much more, as you say, the repeating, unusual behavior, loss of inhibition, incontinence, loss of balance, immobility, pacing, fidgeting, wandering, sleep disorders, resistance to care, etc. You truly do need 3 shifts of caregivers after a certain point.