Vascular cognitive impairment (VCI), or poststroke dementia, is estimated to be the second most common form of dementia behind Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals who suffer from vascular dementia experience a wide variety of symptoms, many of which are shared with Alzheimer’s disease, including memory loss, confusion and disorientation.
Common Warning Signs
- Diminished judgment and planning
- Inability to pay attention
- Difficulty in social situations
- Struggling to find the right words
What Is Vascular Dementia?
Vascular dementia can occur as a result of a severe stroke or multiple small strokes which affect the blood vessels inside the brain. When a stroke occurs, no matter how minor, it reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients getting to the brain cells, resulting in impairment. These symptoms may occur at the same time as physical stroke symptoms, such as difficulty walking or paralysis on one side of the face or body. While vascular dementia does not cause Alzheimer’s disease, or vice versa, it is not uncommon for a person to have both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
If a physician suspects vascular dementia, they may order tests, such as blood work, neurological exams and brain imaging (such as a CT or MRI scan).
What Should I Expect As A Caregiver?
For caregivers, understanding common behavior changes of someone living with Vascular dementia is important. A caregiver may need to provide emotional and physical support, as well as encouragement. Individuals with dementia are likely to become restless, experience mood changes and wander. Knowing how to balance a person’s safety and independence becomes more difficult as the disease progresses.
- Advancing Age
- A history of heart attack or stroke
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- High blood sugar (diabetes)
How Can We Help?
Meeting the demands of a loved one with Vascular Dementia can be difficult and seem impossible. Memory care is all we do. We offer the following services dedicated to those living with memory impairments.
- Support, education and information for caregivers and family members.
- An environment that helps to keep residents safe and as independent as possible.
- Staff specially trained on caring for residents living with memory loss.
- Structured, engaging programs, 10 hours a day.
- Programs personalized for all levels of dementia and focused on what the resident can do, capitalizing on lifelong experiences and familiar routines.
Our Resident's Story
Bob is a retired pastor who spent his life sharing his faith and ministering to others. Married for 65 years, he and his wife have a large family with six children, thirteen grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren. Three years ago, Bob’s mental and physical health deteriorated after a series of Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs). His neurologist told him that these mini strokes are often a precursor to a large stroke. Bob moved into Arden Courts for his medical and physical needs. Learn more below about how our programming helped Bob.
Arden Courts staff reviewed Bob’s lifestyle biography and talked extensively with Bob’s wife. They made sure that Bob always had a Bible on his nightstand within easy reach. Every morning and evening, Bob read a passage from his Bible. Staff members noticed Bob continued to minister to others. He often checked in with other residents, placed a hand on their shoulder to make sure they were OK or offered a kind word. He ended each encounter with a “bless you” and bended his head in prayer before every meal.
Bob found a perfect fit in a Bible study program and small group discussion. When he first arrived at Arden Courts, he would read a Bible passage and expound the message, just like he did for years from the pulpit. As his vascular dementia became more advanced, the staff altered his role in Bible study. They kept him involved by having him read along with a staff member and respond to simple yes/no questions. At meal time, they provided a basket of blessings so he could pull one out to read.
Increasingly, Bob sits passively without speaking. This decline is hard for his family to witness, yet some part of Bob clings to what’s important. He is a mainstay at the daily devotional time in the community center. He finds comfort in this familiar environment, holding his well-worn Bible and flipping through the pages. His eyes light up during the hymn singing, and he often sings and claps along.
Due to a loss of balance and coordination, Bob is dependent on a wheelchair. He is considered advanced in his dementia. Once an avid people watcher and observer of his environment, he now becomes fixated and distracted by simple things—a flower, a painting on the wall, or a crumpled newspaper. Namaste Care is beneficial because it helps him to reduce distractions with slow, purposeful strategies. Bob’s wife plans her visits during Namaste because she is able to get his singular attention and converse with him.