Being diagnosed with dementia comes as a shock to most people because it’s a condition that completely changes their life. But sometimes the diagnosis makes it easier to understand previously inexplicable changes in behavior or personality.
Every person who develops vascular dementia experiences their situation differently, and copes with it differently. Some people are able to accept the disease and to go on living an active and satisfying life for as long as possible despite the related problems. Others have a harder time. They may become withdrawn, and are often sad or depressed. Still others will try to ignore the disease and its symptoms. Another aspect is that a lot of people who develop dementia after having strokes worry they might have more strokes in the future.
Over time, they may learn to deal with their problems and fears and to accept their illness. An important part of that is the support they receive from others, and especially from their family.
The strain on family members is usually high, especially in the later stages of the disease, and they typically need support themselves at some point. It is important that both they and the person with the disease are involved in planning the treatment and offered support in line with their personal situation and needs. As well as training, this can include practical matters like financial support and advice on applying for assistance.
Sharing experiences with others affected by the disease and those close to them, for example in a support group, is often considered to be helpful. Learning how others stay active and keep up hobbies like singing, hiking, cooking or painting inspires them to be strong. Taking part in activities also helps them keep their mind off the disease. Many people with dementia are able to maintain a good quality of life and lead a satisfying life for a long time.
When someone has very advanced dementia and needs an increasing level of care, those around them may get to a point where they can no longer manage. Moving to a facility providing professional nursing care, support and medical treatment can then be the best solution for everyone. It is often not easy to make the decision to move into a care home or assisted living facility, particularly because it can take some time to find a suitable place. But there’s an increasing range of good-quality support that caters specifically to the needs of people with dementia.