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