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Stroke Related Dementia


Some slowing of thinking processes is normal in aging. However, any change in thinking, memory, reasoning, attention, grooming, behavior, or personality that interferes with your ability to care for yourself, maintain health and safety, or participate in activities that you enjoy warrants a visit to your health care provider.

An early diagnosis allows treatment to begin earlier in the disease, when it has the best chance of offering significant symptom relief. Early diagnosis also allows you to plan activities and to arrange for care while you can still take part in making decisions.

Self-Care at Home

A person with vascular dementia should be under medical care. There are steps you can take, however, to reduce your risk of further vascular damage or stroke  . The most important thing you can do is adopt healthy habits. You should maintain a healthy weight, eat a balanced and healthy diet  , exercise regularly, and not smoke.

You must develop a realistic attitude toward your limitations. You may require assistance with some everyday tasks, such as managing your finances. You may have to give up some of your independence (for example, driving a car). Your safety, and the safety of others, depends on it.

Many people with vascular dementia are eventually unable to live independently and care for themselves. Often, family members become responsible for their care. Your health care provider can discuss with you and your family how you should plan for future care.


Tips for the Caregiver

Caregiving is best when it is structured, respectful, and friendly. This type of caregiving is the best way to approach the person’s behavioral problems.

  • Your health care provider can give you advice on how to best care for your loved one and how to react to troubling behaviors and symptoms.
  • Use short, simple sentences when communicating with the person with dementia  .
  • Simplify and create a routine for all self-care tasks such as bathing and dressing.
  • Establish a daily routine for all activities such as meals, medication administration, recreation, exercise, and sleep.
  • Use signs and pictures, clocks and calendars, family photos, and a list of daily activities to reorient the person when he or she gets confused.
  • Use distraction, not confrontation, to control irritable or socially inappropriate behaviors.

If the affected person is unable to cope in the community, the caregiver should initiate discussion about long-term care planning, including nursing home placement. Your health care provider can discuss issues regarding caregiver stress and respite care. Respite care is a community resource that gives the caregiver relief for a short time. Day programs can provide relief for families, particularly working families, and they provide structure and activities for the person with dementia.



If you have had a stroke or have vascular dementia, you should see your health care provider regularly. These visits allow him or her to evaluate your symptoms and adjust treatments if necessary.

You may eventually become unable to care for yourself, or even to make decisions about your care.

It is best to discuss future care arrangements with family members as early as possible, so that your wishes can be clarified and documented for the future.

Your health care provider can advise you about legal documents that you should complete to ensure that these wishes are observed.


In many cases, vascular dementia is preventable. Risk factors for stroke and vascular dementia include high blood pressure  , high cholesterol  , heart disease  , smoking, and diabetes  . For many people, risk can be reduced by adopting a healthy lifestyle. People who have had a stroke may be able to reduce their risk of further strokes by drug treatment or surgery in addition to adopting a healthy lifestyle.


At this time, there is no known cure for vascular dementia. While treatment can stop or slow the worsening of symptoms, or even improve them in some cases, the damage done to the brain by a stroke cannot be reversed.

As dementia progresses, behavior problems usually become more severe. Troubling behaviors like agitation, aggression, wandering, sleep disorders, and inappropriate sexual behavior may become unmanageable. The physical demands of caregiving, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, feeding, and assisting with using the toilet, may become overwhelming for family members. Under these conditions, the family may decide to place the person in a nursing home or similar facility.

Vascular dementia appears to shorten life expectancy. The most common causes of death are complications of dementia and cardiovascular disease.


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