Living With Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is a progressive disease that has no cure, but the rate at which the disease progresses can vary. Some people with vascular dementia may eventually need a high level of care due to the loss of mental and physical abilities. Family members may be able to care for a person with vascular dementia early on. But if the disease progresses, the person may need more specialized care.
Respite programs, adult daycare programs, and other resources can help the caregiver get some time away from the demands of caring for a loved one with vascular dementia.
Long-term care facilities that specialize in the care of people with dementias, Alzheimer’s, and other related conditions are often available if a person affected by vascular dementia can no longer be cared for at home. Your healthcare provider can recommend caregiver resources.
Things That Can Make Your Loved Ones Dementia Worse
By Shital Rane 9 am on May 15, 2020
Dementia is an umbrella term that encompasses many different conditions, including Alzheimers disease. While there are many forms of dementia, its generally a chronic and progressive condition that becomes more noticeable over time. Its sometimes possible to manage or even reverse symptoms under certain circumstances. However, there are also some things that could cause dementia to worsen, such as those discussed below.
Dementia And Causes Of Head Injury
The following are the most common causes of head injury in civilians:
Use of alcohol or other substances is a factor in about half of these injuries.
Certain groups are more likely than others to sustain head injury:
- In children, bicycle accidents are a significant cause of head injury.
- Most head injuries in infants reflect child abuse. A common name for this is shaken baby syndrome.
- Older adults are especially likely to injure themselves by falling.
Don’t Miss: Alzheimer’s Disease Neurotransmitters
Helping Someone With Vascular Dementia
Caring for a person with vascular dementia can be very stressful for both you and your loved one. You can make the situation easier by providing a stable and supportive environment.
- Modify the caregiving environment to reduce potential stressors that can create agitation and disorientation in a dementia patient.
- Avoid loud or unidentifiable noises, shadowy lighting, mirrors or other reflecting surfaces, garish or highly contrasting colors, and patterned wallpaper.
- Use calming music or play the persons favorite type of music as a way to relax the patient when agitated.
Why Might Dementia Progress Quickly
Alzheimers disease typically has a slow and gradual progression, whereas people affected by vascular dementia tend to show periodic, step-wise impairments in function. However, many factors have an impact on the development of dementia. An individuals genetic heritage will play a role, as does their general, physical health. People with cardiovascular disease or diabetes, especially if they are poorly controlled, are at risk of a faster deterioration. People who are frail with low immunity and recurrent infections are also vulnerable. Young-onset dementia tends to progress more rapidly. People who develop dementia between the ages of thirty and fifty, appear to live two years less than those whose dementia is diagnosed later in life.
Most cases of sudden confusion and rapidly progressing dementia in an elderly person are due to delirium caused by infection. Urinary infections and pneumonia can trigger acute confusion that comes on quickly, causing people to be incoherent, muddled and disorientated. Agitation, aggression and odd behaviour are also common. The good news is that the symptoms of delirium can be reversed when the infection is appropriately treated.
Don’t Miss: Dementia Awareness Ribbon
Consequences Of Falls In The Elderly
Above, we mentioned that 25 percent of the elderly will fall each year, so its a pretty common problem. Some of them will be lucky enough to bounce back without harm. But for most, after a fall, the likelihood of future falls doubles. This can be scary for older adults to think about, and the fear may, unfortunately, prohibit them from living an active independent lifestyle.
There are many consequences that may happen when an elderly person falls. Most injuries are the result of weak muscles, brittle bones, and fragile joints. Hips and wrists are the most common broken bones in the elderly.
When a senior falls down, they may hit their heads, causing head trauma and concussions. Brain damage from a fall can bring on or worsen dementia.
To make matters worse, many seniors live alone, or are alone for the majority of the day. If they were to fall and no one was around, there is a danger of them not getting help when they need it.
Search Strategy And Information Sources
We used a detailed literature search, without language restriction, to identify articles published between January 1, 1988, and October 16, 2014. The following electronic databases were used: EMBASE, PubMed, PsycINFO, and CINAHL. The following MeSH subject terms, subject headings, and abstract keywords were used: aged, aged 80 and over, prospective study/ies, accidental falls, falls, falling, fall risk, risk factor, fall risk assessment, risk assessment, Alzheimer’s disease, Alzheimer disease, cognitive defect, frontotemporal dementia, dementia, multi-infarct dementia, diffuse Lewy body disease, mild cognitive impairment, cognitive impairment, vascular dementia, dementia of Alzheimer’s type, dementia with Lewy body, and Parkinson’s disease dementia. We also performed a hand search of bibliographic references in the extracted articles and existing reviews to identify any studies not captured in the electronic searches. This systematic review was registered with PROSPERO .
You May Like: How To Stop Alzheimer’s Patient From Picking Skin
How To Keep Elderly From Falling
The good news is that a great number of senior falls can be prevented when seniors begin a regular exercise program and commit to doing it a few times per week. When the body moves, it helps keep the circulation going and strengthens the muscles that keep us more stable when we stand or walk.
Exercises dont have to strenuous. Seniors can build muscle strength through a gentle exercise program such as chair yoga or tia chi. Caution be sure the senior has a physical examination first, to be sure there are no underlying conditions that would keep them from taking part in an exercise program.
Having the proper footwear and walking assistance tools, such as a cane or walker, will help an older person get off on the right foot and give them confidence in their balance. Treating neuropathy or other foot issues is recommended. Theyll be more likely to get into physical activity if their feet feel comfortable and they are pain-free.
Getting regular check-ups with an eye doctor. Adjustments with glasses or other needed treatments will make the world a clearer and safer place. Vision problems, poor depth perception, and poor eyesight can be a major issue for seniors. Not only has the world gotten harder to see, but vision impairments also contribute to falling.
A healthy diet will provide the necessary nutrients and vitamins seniors need for fuel. This includes drinking plenty of water to prevent the lightheadedness that can result from dehydration.
Life Expectancy And Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Abnormal proteins cause steadily increasing brain damage. This initially affects thought and memory and remember and progressively causes failure of all body systems.
Alzheimers is typically diagnosed at the mild dementia stage when memory and planning problems start to affect daily life. The life expectancy for an individual with Alzheimer’s is usually between 8-12 years from diagnosis however, someone fit and healthy on diagnosis could live considerably longer. In one American study, people lived from between one and twenty-six years after first spotting symptoms, so the variation is enormous.
Recommended Reading: Does Diet Coke Cause Dementia
Could It Be Rapidly Progressive Dementia
RPD can be difficult to diagnose. However, accurately diagnosing these conditions is critical in order to identify any treatable causes and protect against further brain cell damage. An early hospital assessment by a specialist can help pick up problems so that, where available, appropriate treatment can be initiated. Cancers, infections, toxins and autoimmune conditions could all cause a fast decline in mental function, as well as the more common neurodegenerative causes of dementia such as Alzheimers, strokes and Parkinsons disease.
Dementia Terms You May Hear
- Alzheimers disease: the most common type of dementia, caused by clumps of proteins building up in the brain.
- Mild cognitive impairment: this can happen after a stroke. This is when someone has memory and thinking problems but they are not severe enough to interfere with their day-to-day activities.
- Other types of dementia: you may hear about dementia with Lewy bodies, frontotemporal dementia and young-onset dementia, as well as other rarer types.
- Small vessel disease: damage to the blood vessels deep inside the brain, often caused by high blood pressure.
- Vascular cognitive impairment: this describes all memory and thinking problems associated with stroke. It includes vascular dementia and mild cognitive impairment.
- Vascular dementia: problems with memory and thinking due to reduced blood flow in your brain.
Don’t Miss: Color For Dementia Awareness
What Causes Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is caused by a lack of blood flow to a part of the brain. Blood flow may be decreased or interrupted by:
- Blood clots
- Bleeding because of a ruptured blood vessel
- Damage to a blood vessel from atherosclerosis, infection, high blood pressure, or other causes, such as an autoimmune disorder
CADASIL is a genetic disorder that generally leads to dementia of the vascular type. One parent with the gene for CADASIL passes it on to a child, which makes it an autosomal-dominant inheritance disorder. It affects the blood vessels in the white matter of the brain. Symptoms, such as migraine headaches, seizures, and severe depression, generally start when a person is in his or her mid-30s but, symptoms may not appear until later in life.
Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Lewy bodies are deposits of protein that develop throughout the brain, including in the cerebral cortex, which oversees language and thinking. They damage and kill nerves in the brain over time.
In the early stages of dementia with Lewy bodies, alertness and attentiveness may vary wildly from day to day or even throughout the same day.
People with this type of dementia may hallucinate, and they often feel persecuted as a result.
The symptoms may start to resemble Alzheimers as this type of dementia progresses, with episodes of memory loss, shouting, and confrontational behavior. These symptoms can be especially challenging for caregivers.
You May Like: What Color Is Alzheimer’s Awareness Ribbon
Tips For Dementia Care
Dementia can be challenging for both patients and caregivers but knowing what to expect can help ease the journey. Caregivers may not be able to anticipate the level of dementia on a daily basis, but they can be prepared to manage the varying symptoms of dementia as they progress.
The different stages of dementia require different degrees of caregiving. 2 With mild dementia, people may still be able to function independently, however, theyll experience memory lapses that affect daily life, such as forgetting words or where things are located.
People experiencing moderate dementia will likely need more assistance in their daily lives as it becomes harder for them to perform daily activities and self-care. They may hallucinate, get lost easily and forget where they are, and not remember what day of the week it is.
Someone with severe dementia will likely lose their ability to communicate and need full-time daily assistance with tasks such as eating and dressing. They may not remember their own name or the names of others. Physical activity and ability may be seriously impaired and they may be more susceptible to infections, such as pneumonia.
The 7 Stages Of Dementia
Living with and understanding Dementia stages can be difficult. Here we offer a more clearly defined picture of the whole Dementia journey. What are the signs of Dementia to look out for in a loved one? And if you do spot these signals of Dementia, what actions can you take?
You May Like: Bobby Knight Health
Cdc Fall Statistics How Likely Is It For A Senior To Fall
In this case, the term senior refers to someone over the age of 65. Unfortunately, falls in this age group are quite prevalent, making it a very serious issue for the aging population.
The United StatesCenter for Disease Control and Prevention regularly reports the latest statistics on elderly falls, as well as the common causes of falls.
- One in every four elderly people will fall each year. As the elderly population grows each year, so does the number of elderly who fall.
- One in five of those falls will result in severe injury.
- Those who fall are twice as likely to fall again within one year.
These statistics are based on the cases that are reported and treated many times an elderly person will never tell anyone that they fell due to the fear of a loss of independence.
Physical Weakness Gait Changes And Poor Balance
Some people in the early stages of Alzheimers are in excellent physical shape and walk for miles every day, while others seem to develop difficulties almost before memory problems begin. Some research even suggests that a or balance can be an early indicator of a decline in cognition. As Alzheimer’s progresses into the middle stages and later stages, it causes a decline in muscle strength, walking, and balance.
You May Like: What Color Represents Alzheimer’s
What Is Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. It’s caused when decreased blood flow damages brain tissue. Blood flow to brain tissue may be reduced by a partial blockage or completely blocked by a blood clot.
Symptoms of vascular dementia may develop gradually, or may become apparent after a stroke or major surgery, such as heart bypass surgery or abdominal surgery.
Dementia and other related diseases and conditions are hard to tell apart because they share similar signs and symptoms. Although vascular dementia is caused by problems with blood flow to the brain, this blood flow problem can develop in different ways. Examples of vascular dementia include:
- Mixed dementia. This type occurs when symptoms of both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s exist.
- Multi-infarct dementia. This occurs after repeated small, often “silent,” blockages affect blood flow to a certain part of the brain. The changes that occur after each blockage may not be apparent, but over time, the combined effect starts to cause symptoms of impairment. Multi-infarct dementia is also called vascular cognitive impairment.
Researchers think that vascular dementia will become more common in the next few decades because:
Signs Of Dying In The Elderly With Dementia
Dementia is a general term for a chronic or persistent decline in mental processes including memory loss, impaired reasoning, and personality changes. Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of all cases of dementia. It is also the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, and over 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimers disease.
Alzheimers disease and most progressive dementias do not have a cure. While the disease inevitably worsens over time, that timeline can vary greatly from one patient to the next.
Caring for a loved one can be challenging and stressful, as the individuals personality changes and cognitive function declines. They may even stop recognizing their nearest and dearest friends and relatives. As dementia progresses, the individual will require more and more care. As a family caregiver, its important to be able to recognize the signs of dying in elderly with dementia. Hospice can help by offering care wherever the individual resides, providing physical, emotional and spiritual care to the patient and support their family.
Also Check: How To Get A Person With Dementia To Shower
How Do You Know When A Bruise Is Serious
If the bruise is still there after two weeks, you should consult your doctor for advice or examination of the area.
The NHS advises that you should also see your doctor if bruises are appearing for no reason. They are generally caused by injury, but if you havent banged yourself, they could be a sign of a vitamin deficiency or diabetes. They can also be a side effect of some medications, such as blood thinners or even aspirin and ibuprofen.
These personal alarms for the elderly can be used to call for assistance if you have an accident at home. The response team is available 24 hours a day so you can get help whenever you need it. Safety alarms for the elderly come in a variety of forms, including pendants and bracelets, and may put your mind at rest if you find that youre falling frequently in the house.
It you are a carer for someone at risk of falling, it is also important that you know how to safely lift a person after a fall.
Download our free falls prevention guide for useful tips and advice to keep you or your loved ones safe in their home.