How to Care for Someone with Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is the second-most common type of dementia, according to Alzheimer’s Society. Many people with the condition have vascular dementia as a part of mixed dementia, where someone is living with more than one form of dementia, such as Lewy body dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or vascular dementia, although some people experience vascular dementia alone.

With many US Americans assuming a caregiver role for aging family members, it’s important to know more about how to care for someone with vascular dementia.

Ways to Care for a Loved One with Vascular Dementia

Learn More about the Condition

Perhaps the first best step in knowing how to care for someone living with this condition is learning more about the condition itself.

So, just what is vascular dementia?

  • Vascular dementia is a type of dementia that occurs from strokes, blood clots, or other conditions that damage blood vessels in the brain, restricting blood supply to brain cells.
  • Causes of this dementia include conditions that damage blood vessels and restrict cerebral blood flow, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke.
  • Risk factors for this dementia include risk factors for conditions that cause it (e.g., hypertension, diabetes, stroke), including smoking, age, family history, poor diet, and sedentary lifestyle.
  • Symptoms of vascular dementia include struggling to find the right words, mood changes, behavioral changes, memory loss, cognitive impairment, and a decline in decision-making abilities.
  • Treatment options include participating in clinical trials, taking medications, and managing modifiable risk factors for the condition.

Manage Modifiable Risk Factors

While there is no controlling age or genetics, there are modifiable risk factors for vascular dementia. In other words, those are risk factors that are manageable with the right lifestyle changes, therapies, and medications.

Some ways to manage these risk factors include:

Create a Daily Care Plan

One of the best ways to support someone with dementia is to help them establish a daily routine. Doing so makes daily life more predictable, less stressful, and easier to manage for the person living with memory problems.

A day-to-day plan for someone with dementia should accommodate the individual’s personal care needs and abilities and include room for plenty of socialization.

Seek Mental Health Treatment

Caring for family members and other loved ones living with vascular dementia can be incredibly rewarding. It can also be incredibly draining. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unpaid family carers are at greater risk for mental health problems like enhanced stress, anxiety, and depression.

When experiencing caregiver grief and guilt, it’s important to seek out health from professionals. After all, the caregiver’s quality of life is just as important as the well-being of the person who is receiving care.

Join a Support Group

Caregiving can feel isolating, but plenty of people assume family caregiving positions. Talking to them about shared experiences can reduce the risk of caregiver burnout and foster a sense of community and support.

Alzheimer’s Association and American Stroke Association both offer support groups for caregivers.

Seek Professional Respite Care

Everyone needs a little break, including carers. Many senior living communities—including some in the St. Andrew’s network—offer short-term support services, or respite care, to give families peace of mind that their loved ones are in a safe environment while they enjoy a much-deserved break from their caregiving duties.

Establish Durable Power of Attorney

No one likes to think about it, but there may be a point when vascular dementia progresses to the point that the person can no longer make decisions regarding personal care or even end-of-life care. When receiving a dementia diagnosis, it makes sense for many families to establish a durable power of attorney. With this legal document, a person with dementia can elect someone else to make decisions on their behalf should they be unable to do so themselves.

It’s usually best to establish durable power of attorney in the early stages of the disease, so that the person living with dementia can more easily sign and understand the documents required.

Caring for Seniors with Vascular Dementia at St. Andrew’s

It takes a community to care for someone with vascular dementia. St. Andrew’s is ready to be part of your community. It’s why we offer the services and lifestyle options that families rely on to care for their loved one living with memory loss, including:

Contact us today to learn more about how we care for people with vascular dementia and other related dementias.

Disclaimers: This article is for informational purposes only and cannot be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition. Please direct any and all healthcare concerns to a licensed healthcare provider.

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