If you’re caring for someone who’s had a stroke, then you know forgetting words, dates and faces is pretty common. However, a stroke can trigger other kinds of memory loss, such as trouble planning, making decisions and reasoning. This type of memory loss is called vascular dementia.
Though its symptoms may be similar to Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia is caused by stroke — blocked blood vessels in the brain. When areas of the brain are deprived of blood and oxygen, brain cells die. This can cause memory loss.
Any type of memory loss can feel devastating, whether it’s vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s, Lewy body dementia or frontotemporal dementia. But there are many tools and resources to help your family cope. Here are 5 ways you can care for your loved one.
1. Talk to a doctor
There is no cure for vascular dementia, but you can help manage its symptoms. Work with a doctor on a care plan that allows your loved one to be as independent as possible.
Some Alzheimer’s medications also help people with vascular dementia. They stimulate the parts of the brain that deal with memory, judgment and information processing. Talk to a doctor to see if medicine may be right for your loved one.
Manage risk factors
You can help slow the effects of vascular dementia and prevent further decline. Ask your loved one’s doctor how you can help manage risk factors such as:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
2. Stick to a routine
Repetition and order can reduce frustration. Create a routine where your loved one does the same tasks at the same time each day. Also, keep a calendar in a highly visible place to track appointments, home care visits, and scheduled visits with family or friends. It can be a helpful reminder and bring comfort.
3. Ask for help
Don’t be discouraged if you need help. You need support when you’re caring for someone living with vascular dementia. Consider sharing your experience with a dementia support group or scheduling home visits with a nurse. These resources expand your support network and can lighten some of the demands of being a caregiver.
Vascular dementia may progress to the point where your loved one can no longer stay at home. Moving them to a care community is never an easy decision. If the time comes when your loved one needs round-the-clock care, know that we’re here to help with this difficult transition.
Our memory care communities are staffed with compassionate caregivers who are specially trained to care for those living with memory loss. Everything we do—from our family education sessions to our resident engagement programs—ensures that your loved one can live with dignity and as much independence as possible. Learn how an Arden Courts Memory Care Community can help in our case study.
4. Play problem-solving games
Play cards or do puzzles to exercise the brain. Although it’s not proven that games improve memory, mental stimulation is good for all of us.
5. Take care of yourself
As a caregiver you do a lot of, well ... giving. Remember to take time for yourself. If you’re not healthy, you can’t be there to care for your loved one.
Call on us
We offer support, education and information for caregivers and family members. If you have questions about Vascular dementia and the types of care available contact the Arden Courts near you.