I'm new here and wanting to make new friends who have Vascular Dementia caregiving experience!

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She's my mother-in-law. She's 86. She moved in with my husband (he's an only child-so we're it) and I on July 3. After a spring and summer of in and out of the doctor's office and hospital due to her loosing her strength/memory and eventually couldn't even speak at one point, she was finally diagnosed with Vascular Dementia. She was living in an independent apartment at the time. We had already uprooted our family and moved to her town 2 years ago because she had started making poor choices. That was step one. Then a year ago, we had to take her car away- again because of poor choices.(I became her chauffeur) Step two. Then as I said, we had to move her in with us permanently due to fact that we realized she was not taking care of herself and the Vascular Dementia diagnosis. Step Three. She argued and fussed, but we just smiled and changed the subject. Within two weeks, she was no longer dehydrated, was eating REAL food again(not candy and sweets - her food of choice) and even though she would not admit it, was relaxed and much more peaceful. I soon realized I truly had an 86 year old child. When she tries to rebel about something, we simply applied our years of child rearing principles and she responded in kind. (our sons are both in college right now-19 and 21)


So, what's my complaint? Just your experience and advise. My husband and I just celebrated our 29th anniversary. He's my best friend. And we protect our marriage and our family with every fiber in us. He has never had a good relationship with his mother, so it's nothing more than miraculous that we are at this point in the first place. He was so close to his dad, but he passed 20 years ago. And he knows it's the right thing to do to take care of his mother. She's never been a burden to us. She's never interfered in our lives. But, now.......like I said, after enjoying our first taste of the glorious empty-nester life, we again, have another child in our house. And again, I really don't have much to complain about. She sleeps to noon, I make her oatmeal and coffee. She sits and watches tv until about 4 - take another nap-up to eat dinner around 6, back to bed around 8 or so. That's it. She doesn't want to do anything AT ALL. We've tried.


One of the things I liked about this site is that you don't have to feel guilty for saying what's really on your mind. You are not judged.


So, I'm just wanting to know what to look forward to. I'm not sure how long she's actually had this disease. Looking back, of course we saw signs. She's never been a deep thinker, mind you. She's pretty simple, and believes the last person who talks to her. (that's dangerous) And often stretched the truth to get her way. These are part of the causes of the stress in her relationships in her life, including her only child. Because of these traits, it has been hard to determine if a behavior she's exhibiting is due to the disease or these traits.


We have been blessed to still qualify for Home Health, but I know that will drop off eventually. A nurse comes by once a week and an aide bathes her twice a week. The first week she was here, she hallucinated a lot. People who were not here, things that we did not hear or see. That leveled out within that first two weeks - which I know was her own stress due to the change. But the hallucinations and confusion kind of ramped back up within another month, so she now takes Seroquel (a psychotic sedative) each evening and that has really helped. I've forgotten it twice and paid for that in odd things the next day. The biggest symptom is her weakness. She really has trouble walking, nearly falls almost all the time (we stay by her side ALL the time). She is partially incontinent. And believe it or not, SHE asked for Depends because "hun(she calls everyone hun), I just can't make it to the bathroom in time all the time". THAT was a nice surprise. She's always been in good health. She doesn't take meds for anything else.


Her diet has become very simple. She likes her oatmeal, coffee and a bagel EVERY SINGLE DAY. And does NOT like to miss it. And when she first got here, she'd eat most everything I'd cook. Now, it's whittled down to no matter what I cook or bring in, all she wants is cornbread and buttermilk now. She still has a heavy sweet tooth, though, and I usually have to have something sweet.


She does hurt feelings easily by mindlessly criticizing things, though, and I think that may be part what is starting to wear on us. We have found a couple of sitters and it allows us to go out a couple times a week. But our spontaneity to just run out together is gone.


We want her to have a comfortable, safe and peaceful end of her life here. We also are going to take care of us, too.


I have read that Vascular Dementia does not present like Alzheimer's. Now that I've laid myself bare - what can we expect?! Thanks for reading this book!!

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Right. I agree about the hospital. It's a horrible experience to hang out in the E.R. It's rough on anyone, but for a dementia patient, it's extra rough. I can't figure out what all those workers do sitting in their cubicles staring at computer screens. It's boggles the mind. They are on those computers long enough to write the biography of every patient in the E.R. lol

The MRI she got was quite harrowing. I'm still not sure why that was necessary.
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We have said no hospitalizatuons. Mom is on Palliative care, ao if there is an issue that they might transport her for, we'd need to be jotified, and we'd be inclined to say no. At this point, hospitalizations do my mom more harm than good. Yes, they save her life, but she never comes back physically or cognitively to her baseline.
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I see. I try to look at what enjoyment my cousin has. Although, I try to surround her with things she used to love, like her music, favorite artists, wrestling heroes, Nascar, sports, etc. She doesn't really focus on them anymore. I have to point to it and then she may smile, but I don't see any real enjoyment and certainly no memory of the zeal she used to have for them. The only thing I've noticed is that she does like her food and beverages. Sometimes, she will hold a doll, but that has lessened lately.

I have sat outside with her on a nice day, but she doesn't derive much from it. She gets anxious and wants to return to her wing. I am finding that there doesn't seem to be anything that I can do to bring her joy, except for food.
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QOL is very low, isn't really interested in anything around her at all, she seems to be so focused on wherever she is in her head that it is too much bother to even try to pay attention. I'm never sure if she can't hear, doesn't listen or can't follow.
I've asked her what she thinks about and she says she doesn't know; it's like the computer is on but it is in sleep mode or playing the screen saver (caught in a loop, lol).
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I often wonder when or if they will suggest Hospice. Do they hospitalize your mom anymore?

There are two ladies in my cousin's Memory Care that are on Hospice. I see the workers there and see the resident's condition. One is a friend of our family's sister. She is completely contracted, very small and hardly ever has her eyes open. If so, she is staring blankly. I have no idea how she is alive. I'm not sure how the family handles it.
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So, my brother who is POa had this discussion a couple of months ago when mom was on her third round of antibiotics for pneumonia. He says " when she's bedbound and incontinent, or if she gets C-Diff, that's when it's time for Hospice". There's a reason she sppointed him POA. I actually think her quality of like is pretty poor right now, but that's because I would be driven crazy if i were in the state she's in.
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Oh, I forgot to ask. What do you look at as the quality of life?
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Babalou, Man, your mom sure is observant to point and comment about a spot on her nose. That's incredible. And to actually comprehend the condition of others. I don't think my cousin does that. She never asks about anyone, but I will tell her if my parents are sick or tired. They are 11-15 years older than her, but much better mentally and physically.

Cwillie,
It is indeed a mystery at times. Just when I think I know where she is, something will happen and I'm taken aback. I thought she was out of the repeating phase some time ago, as now she doesn't say much. But, the day we were recently in the E.R. with her fractured arm, she told me she loved one once every 2 minutes for the last 3 hours we were there! Of course,I have to respond with I love you back. So, I'm not sure what the people in the adjacent cubicle thought. lol

I can't say we ever have a normal conversation anymore. I do dread when her speech goes completely as I think she will be more frustrated. It's difficult to say what is going on inside.
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I was very fortunate. Mom had a sudden bout of declined cog abilities and increased anxiety while livinv at home. PCP said " her blood tests are fine". We moved mom into Independent Living because we could no longer respond to the 5x a week emergencies and she was made more anxious by aides.

Geriatrics doc and geri psych urged neurocog testing which showed she'd had a stroke and that her vog/reasoning skills were no longer intact. Ao when the "big" stroke happened, we knew what her skills had been prior.
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I had to put my mom's diagnosis together on my own after reading everything I could in order to understand her sudden helplessness. Given her history of heart disease/stroke vascular dementia seems to fit. And for a long time her problems seemed much more physical than mental, one day she was able to go out and about as usual, and then suddenly she couldn't get out of bed. That was my lowest point and when I came closest to admitting her to a nursing home because I just couldn't get any answers as to what had happened, the ER doc told me "they just get tired".
Sunnygirl, I can relate to the total body unawareness in regards to incontinence and even pain (she knows something is wrong but can't tell me what or where), and the inability to feed herself without putting the food in her hands. She will sometimes ask for a drink while holding the cup in her hand and needs to be reminded that it is there.
As for her mind, some days we can actually still have a normal conversation, albeit a very short one. Other days she won't respond at all. This is all mixed in with her being nearly deaf and blind, so that must play a part too, it is hard to know sometimes.
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