Owner's Blog

What is Vascular Dementia?

By Dawn Hill

Though most people are familiar with Alzheimer’s disease, there are actually many different kinds of dementia. One of them is vascular dementia, which occurs because of damage to blood vessels. Understanding this type of dementia may help you to spot it in your aging relative or help you to better care for an older adult who has the disease.


About Vascular Dementia

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, vascular dementia is “the second most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer's disease, accounting for 10 percent of cases.” Vascular dementia occurs when blood flow to the brain is impeded in some way, causing brain cells to die. Sometimes it happens after a person has a stroke. It can also happen because of conditions that cause narrowing of blood vessels, such as high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.


Vascular dementia symptoms are often most obvious after a person has a stroke because they come on suddenly. However, it is also possible for vascular dementia to develop slowly over time, making it look like Alzheimer’s disease. It is also possible for an older adult to have vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease at the same time.


Risk Factors for Vascular Dementia

The risk factors for vascular dementia mirror those for heart disease and stroke. They include:

  • Medical history of heart attack or stroke.
  • High cholesterol.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Atrial fibrillation.


While having these risk factors doesn’t necessarily mean your aging relative will develop vascular dementia, if they have these risk factors and exhibit symptoms, they should be evaluated by a doctor.


Vascular Dementia Symptoms

The symptoms an older adult experiences depend on which part of the brain has been affected by poor blood flow. Some possible symptoms are:

  • Memory problems.
  • A difficulty with attention and concentration.
  • A decline in problem-solving skills.
  • Trouble making decisions.
  • Walking in an unsteady manner.
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding when someone else is speaking.
  • Loss of vision.


If your aging relative has vascular dementia, elder care providers can assist with their care. An elder care provider can make sure the senior stays safe when family caregivers cannot be with them. Elder care providers can also help with daily activities of living that the older adult may not be capable of doing on their own. Some of the things elder care can help with are dressing, bathing, eating, and toileting. In addition, an elder care provider can involve the senior in activities that keep them happy and prevent boredom, such as crafts, games, and puzzles.

If you or an aging loved-one are considering elder care in Cornelius, NC, please call the caring staff at Home Helpers Home Care. We serve clients in Mooresville, Statesville, Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville, Denver, Concord, Kannapolis, and the Charlotte Metro Area. Call today: (704) 909-7958