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Vascular Dementia - Father's Diagnosis and Behaviors
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2019 3:37 PM
Joined: 10/28/2019
Posts: 3

Hi All,

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. 


Posted: Monday, October 28, 2019 4:21 PM
Joined: 10/9/2014
Posts: 1091

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. 

Posted: Monday, October 28, 2019 5:25 PM
Joined: 3/12/2017
Posts: 103

Hey Sister--I know what you're talking about. Respite is so important for caregivers.  Right now my personal struggle with Dad is his joking around with other people who don't know what on earth he's saying or going to do next.  (Everyone from strangers to my son, who lives with us,)  There's a range of things, from hiding for a few minutes (I'm not kidding) to adult daycare, skilled nursing that will take a dementia patient for a few days, or even weeks, to assisted living and board and cares that are permanent.  Someone else can take your father out to lunch or dinner, and a movie, if he can tolerate it.  Or just for a drive, or pleasurable outing for a few hours.  Your mother needs some time she can look forward to, if possible, where she isn't "on call".  It's so hard, and help can be expensive. Also, tell his doctor what's going on, there may be some medication that will help.  Hope this helps a little, there's lots of support to be found here.
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2019 7:13 PM
Joined: 10/28/2019
Posts: 3

Thank you for the information. My sisters and I are looking into options for my mother. She does need support. Very evident after watching for 5 minutes her interactions with my dad... She is very stressed. As you said too, we are stepping in to take Dad out, so she has time at home, and we are taking her out for some brief social time. It doesn't seem like enough at this point, so we will be looking into other options as well.
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2019 7:15 PM
Joined: 10/28/2019
Posts: 3

Thank you! Support is greatly appreciated.
Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2019 12:41 PM
Joined: 2/7/2017
Posts: 18

I am going to try to connect with you via messages.  I am EXACTLY where you are with my dad and mom.  We can commiserate!!
MN Chickadee
Posted: Friday, November 1, 2019 9:36 AM
Joined: 9/7/2014
Posts: 1044

My parents were in a very similar situation. Even before incontinence and physical care is needed, the repetition and constantly keeping track of the person, keeping them safe and appropriate in public, hearing the same story or question 500 times a day is so draining. I've said here often that adult daycare was the only reason my 80 year old father was able to do it as long as he did. Mom started going 3 days a week and we increased it to 5 in the later stages. He had time at home to nap, do chores, have repairmen in to fix stuff, and do whatever he felt like without having to worry at all about where she was or if she was well cared for. The staff there were trained in dementia care and able to handle pretty much anything, plus she was able to socialize in ways she could manage. It was cheaper than in home care (ours was approximately $10/hour) and in some states Medicaid will pay for it if they are low income. Respite in any form is great, but honestly having a friend take him to lunch once a month or whatever is nice but just a drop in the bucket. And most people won't be able to handle his weirdness and have the skills to re-direct and know what to do with his odd behavior. This is part of the reason relationships start to disappear for couples who are dealing with dementia. If there isn't a day program in his area perhaps you could look into a companion coming to the house to entertain him and take him on outings to allow your mom to get out and socialize and relax. Having a scheduled time, such as daycare of having a hired aide come to the house, goes a long way towards allowing the caregiver to be able to hang in there for the long haul. Depression and exhaustion can really take its toll. She might also find a support group helpful. They can be cathartic and a way to discuss your struggles with people who understand and also find local resources. Your local chapter of the Alzheimers Association could tell you when and where they meet.
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