Vascular Dementia Prognosis And Progression
This extensive overview of vascular dementia prognosis and progression gives you a better understanding of the development of the disease during the early, middle and late stages.
Vascular dementia is a condition that occurs when a particular part of your brain does not get enough nutrients and blood.
Also known as multi-infarct dementia, studies show that it has quickly risen to become the second most common cause of dementia in golden-agers.
Caregiving In The Middle Stages
According to the Alzheimers Association, this can be the most prolonged period you will face as a caregiver. The symptoms associated with the middle stage can continue for most of your loved ones later years. During this time, you will need to learn to develop patience, flexibility, and understanding as their day-to-day functions become more difficult to achieve. Your loved one might need assistance with ADLs, act out in strange ways, or grow frustrated and angry with you, which can be stressful. Be sure to take care of yourself and reach out to family, friends, and other support services to make this transition smoother.
Vascular Dementia Is One Of The Most Wide
When these cognitive problems affect a persons daily life, it is a strong indication that they have vascular dementia.
Diagnosis of vascular dementia is sometimes difficult.
This is because there are no tests that show that an individual has the disease. Doctors will, however, study the symptoms that a person is displaying to confirm whether they have the condition or not.
The medical experts must first rule out any illnesses that have the same symptoms, such as depression or Alzheimers disease.
Thyroid and vitamin deficiencies, side effects of medications, or an array of infections may also cause symptoms.
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Why Do Dementia Patients Stop Talking
There are many signs that can tell you death is near for a dementia payment. Even though you may be prepared for the end, it is never easy. The ten signs that death is near include:
Stage : Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
Stage 5 is when your loved one is likely to need help with routine tasks, like dressing or bathing. They may require a home caregiver or to move to a memory care community. Other symptoms include:
- Memory loss of personal details and current events
- Reduced mental acuity and problem-solving ability
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How Does Dementia Reduce Life Expectancy
Dementia reduces life expectancy in two ways.
First, some of the diseases that are closely linked to Alzheimers disease and vascular dementia, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease can mean a lower life expectancy. For example, vascular dementia is closely linked to heart disease and stroke. A person with vascular dementia is at risk of dying at any stage of dementia, from one of these.
The other way that dementia reduces life expectancy is through the effects of severe disease.
These all make them much more likely to develop other medical problems that can lead to death, such as infections or cardiovascular problems .
This is why the later stage of dementia is often the shortest.
A person with dementia can also die at any stage from another condition not closely related to their dementia. Cancer and lung disease are common examples.
Encourage Eating And Drinking
Chewing and swallowing become very difficult in late-stage dementia. This is caused because the muscles and reflexes are not working appropriately. This leads to choking and chest infections. You can always contact your doctor to see if a speech therapist evaluation is applicable if a change in status occurs with swallowing.
How can you help?
When it is challenging to get your loved one to eat, make or get meals that they love, encourage them to eat small snacks throughout the day if this helps them eat more food rather than sitting down to three bigger meals.
If eating is still a struggle, try to offer different food textures or drinks that offer more nutritional value to help them get the calories that they need.
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Offer Touch And Human Contact
Sit with the person, hold their hand and talk to them as if they can still hear you. Hearing can be the last sense that a person loses at death. This shows that you care and shows respect. If family are at their loved ones bedside, stay with the person when the relative has a break, and again hold the persons hand.
The care team would need to plan how you can provide this kind of one-to-one support.
How Long Will A Person With Dementia Live For
Whatever type of dementia a person has, their life expectancy is on average lower. This is why dementia is called a life-limiting condition. This can be very upsetting to think about.
However, its important to remember that, no matter how a persons dementia changes over time, there are ways to live well with the condition.
Good support can make a huge difference to the persons quality of life at all stages of dementia.
How long a person lives with dementia varies greatly from person to person. It depends on many factors, such as the ones listed on The progression and stages of dementia page.
Other factors include:
- how far dementia had progressed when the person was diagnosed
- what other serious health conditions the person with dementia has such as diabetes, cancer, or heart problems
- how old the person was when their symptoms started older people are more likely than younger people to have other health conditions that may lower their life expectancy. A person in their 90s who is diagnosed with dementia is more likely to die from other health problems before they reach the later stages than is a person diagnosed in their 70s.
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Eating And Drinking/eating Problems
Over the course of the disease difficulties in eating become more and more manifest with consequently reduced food intake and need for support with eating and drinking. People with advanced dementia have problems to swallow adequately. Moreover, they tend to keep food in their mouths, stop chewing or spit out food. In the last month of life difficulty with swallowing was found in 42% of persons and 32% exhibited observable weight loss . Advanced dementia is a risk factor for aspiration followed by pneumonia . Instances of reduced food intake dictate that acute medical events need to be examined, as possible causes for eating problems, these include. acute infections, pain, inadequate oral health, medication related side effects, and stroke . Dementia is often accompanied by deterioration in oral health and oral hygiene which, among other possibilities, may be induced by medication side effects of dry oral mucosa and possible subsequent damage to the oral cavity and teeth. Living with sore mouth is very burdensome, causes pain, hinders use of dental prosthesis and often reduces food intake of people with advanced dementia. Educating caregivers about oral hygiene has great potential for improving the oral health of people with dementia .
Alzheimers & Dementia Care Services
Support your loved one with vascular dementia in living a meaningful life at Terra Vista. Terra Vista is an Alzheimers care assisted living facility in Oakbrook Terrace with 24/7-on-site medical personnel, dementia-care-trained staff, and innovative social therapy programs. You and the family can feel a sense of peace knowing that your loved one will receive innovative memory care services while still keeping their independence.
Our dementia care assisted living community features private living rooms, communal dining rooms, and other stellar amenities to help your loved one live a fulfilling life. Take the next step with vascular dementia treatment and schedule a tour of our community to meet our highly skilled medical team today. Give our team a call by phone at 534-0886 to discuss the benefits of transitioning into a memory care community.
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How Many Stages Of Dementia Are There
There are several different types of Dementia, with Alzheimers disease being the most common. Though when it comes to the different stages of Dementia, we can typically categorise the trajectory of the disease as mild, moderate or severe.
Although this three stage model is useful for providing an overview of early, middle and final stages of Dementia, most people prefer a seven stage model that breaks cognitive decline down into seven specific categories. The progression of Dementia will be different for everyone, but knowing where a loved one falls on this scale can help to identify signs and symptoms, whilst also determining the most appropriate care needs. So, what are the 7 stages of Dementia?
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What Are The Average Life Expectancy Figures For The Most Common Types Of Dementia
The average life expectancy figures for the most common types of dementia are as follows:
- Alzheimers disease around eight to 10 years. Life expectancy is less if the person is diagnosed in their 80s or 90s. A few people with Alzheimers live for longer, sometimes for 15 or even 20 years.
- Vascular dementia around five years. This is lower than the average for Alzheimers mostly because someone with vascular dementia is more likely to die from a stroke or heart attack than from the dementia itself.
- Dementia with Lewy bodies about six years. This is slightly less than the average for Alzheimers disease. The physical symptoms of DLB increase a persons risk of falls and infections.
- Frontotemporal dementia about six to eight years. If a person has FTD mixed with motor neurone disease a movement disorder, their dementia tends to progress much quicker. Life expectancy for people who have both conditions is on average about two to three years after diagnosis.
To find out about the support available to someone at the end of their life, and to their carers, family and friends, see our End of life care information.
You can also call Alzheimers Society on 0333 150 3456 for personalised advice and support on living well with dementia, at any stage.
Dementia Connect support line
How To Test For Dementia
There is no single test that can determine a person is suffering from dementia. The doctor can diagnose different types of dementia such as Alzheimers based on their medical history.
This has to be done very carefully. In addition, the doctor may conduct laboratory tests, physical examinations, and changes in the way the patient thinks.
When all things are considered carefully, a doctor can be able to determine that a person is actually suffering from dementia with certainty. Determining the type of dementia can be hard, especially due to the fact that brain changes and symptoms that are associated with the different types of dementias sometimes overlap.
It is normal for the doctor to give a diagnosis of dementia without really specifying the type. In such a case, it is important for the patient to visit a specialist in this area like a psychologist or neurologist for a more specific diagnosis.
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How Long Does Each Stage Of Dementia Last
The stages of dementia can vary depending on the individual and the root causes of the dementia, notes Mayo Clinic. On average, people live about 4.5 years after being diagnosed with dementia, reports WebMD.
Alzheimers disease often progresses in a more steady way that can make it difficult to identify the exact stages, states the Alzheimer Society of Ireland. Vascular dementia, another common type of dementia caused by small strokes that affect the brains ability to function, often has more clear indications between the stages. This is because the decline generally only happens after another stroke occurs. Lewybody dementia can be even more difficult to determine because the patients abilities often change drastically from day to day. This type of dementia often lasts for six to 12 years before death occurs.
Alzheimers disease can be more predictable, but it still varies wildly depending on the individual circumstances, explains HelpGuide.org. Stage one, or mild cognitive impairment, may last two to four years. Moderate Alzheimers often lasts two to 10 years, while the third and most severe stage lasts one to three years or more. Alzheimers disease also has a preclinical phase, in which the brain changes but there are no noticeable symptoms. This stage can last as long as 20 years, according to Mayo Clinic.
A Person With Dementia Doesnt Always Fit Into One Stage
Dementia affects each person in a unique way and changes different parts of the brain at different points in the disease progression.
Plus, different types of dementia tend to have different symptoms.
For example, someone with frontotemporal dementia may first show extreme behavior and personality changes. But someone with Alzheimers disease would first experience short-term memory loss and struggle with everyday tasks.
Researchers and doctors still dont know enough about how these diseases work to predict exactly what will happen.
Another common occurrence is for someone in the middle stages of dementia to suddenly have a clear moment, hour, or day and seem like theyre back to their pre-dementia abilities. They could be sharp for a little while and later, go back to having obvious cognitive impairment.
When this happens, some families may feel like their older adult is faking their symptoms or just isnt trying hard enough.
Its important to know that this isnt true, its truly the dementia thats causing their declining abilities as well as those strange moments of clarity theyre truly not doing it on purpose.
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Why Do Dementia Patients Fiddle With Things
People with dementia may develop various restless behaviours such as fidgeting, pacing and agitation, says the London-based Society on its website. … The behaviour can also be caused by a feeling of anxiety or boredom, communication problem or the surrounding environment. It may be too hot or too cold for the sufferer.2
Difficult To Communicate Through Speech
In late-stage dementia, it becomes challenging to speak and communicate.
How can you help?
During this stage, it is vital to continue to communicate with your loved one. Share with them about your family, your day. Tell them about the things that make them happy, read stories, and look at magazines together. Although your loved one suffering from dementia struggles to communicate verbally, they can still enjoy the interaction together. You may even see them communicating back with their body language, emotions, and expressions.
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Communication At End Of Life
In the later stages of dementia, the person is likely to have problems with communication.
They may have sight or hearing problems, and there may eventually come a time when the person can hardly communicate at all as they usually would. This can make it harder to know if they are uncomfortable or in pain, for example.
What Are The Signs Of End
It is important for caregivers to know when an individual with dementia is close to the end of their life, because it helps ensure they receive the right amount of care at the right time. It can be difficult to know exactly when this time is due to the variable nature of dementias progression, but understanding common end-of-life symptoms of seniors with dementia can help. Below is a timeline of signs of dying in elderly people with dementia:
Final Six Months
- A diagnosis of another condition such as cancer, congestive heart failure or COPD
- An increase in hospital visits or admissions
Final Two-to-Three Months
- Speech limited to six words or less per day
- Difficulty in swallowing or choking on liquids or food
- Unable to walk or sit upright without assistance
- Hands, feet, arms and legs may be increasingly cold to the touch
- Inability to swallow
- Terminal agitation or restlessness
- An increasing amount of time asleep or drifting into unconsciousness
- Changes in breathing, including shallow breaths or periods without breathing for several seconds or up to a minute
Patients with dementia are eligible to receive hospice care if they have a diagnosis of six months or less to live if the disease progresses in a typical fashion. Once a patient begins experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is time to speak with a hospice professional about how they can help provide added care and support.
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