Hi – I’m Catriona and part of the talkhealth team……I’ve had Deborah on my case since we started getting serious about our talkhealth blog to share with you my experiences of having an elderly parent in the advanced stages of dementia. I have no idea how long my mother will live as she completely defies us all with her strength, but plan to chart how we progress through a very sad and frightening condition that is and will be increasingly touching us all in some way.
My mother will be 92 in February and sadly suffers from vascular dementia. According to Wiki – Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease in older adults. Its onset is caused by a number of small strokes or sometimes, one large stroke preceded or followed by other smaller strokes. Hindsight is a great thing and now looking back over the last 10 or so years to me one of her ‘turns’ may well have been one of these mini strokes but was never diagnosed as such by the doctors. Possible explanations given at the time were low blood pressure, irregular heart etc but never dementia. My mother was (and still is I am pleased to say due to the fantastic care she receives from her care home) an extremely smartly dressed lady and one of these ‘turns’ was absolutely devastating for her, as she would lose consciousness and all body control and it would always happen at the most embarrassing times.
One time I can remember she was at a concert in a village hall and had one of her turns. Late at night I am given a call that she is in the local hospital and when I visit her she is without her bottom teeth and very distressed at her ‘toothlessness’. My mother is of an age when they would whip out teeth as soon as possible, she puts it down to falling off a bike. (I have to say my mother never conquered swimming, driving or cycling – so I’m not surprised.) So straight from hospital we went to the village hall and spent a whole hour looking for her teeth on the driveway in the hope that they would be recovered but alas we never found them! We always had a good laugh about the incidents as it seemed the best and only way to cope.