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3 Steps to Understanding Vascular Dementia

Vascular Dementia (VaD) is something we have all heard before, but may not be completely familiar with. In essence, Vascular Dementia is a blood flow problem to the brain that causes brain cells to be deprived of oxygen and nutrients.

Symptoms can be both gradual and sudden in onset. To complicate matters more, these changes can be unpredictable and surprising in nature.

That's why we have listed a few tips that can help in your understanding of this dementia:

1. Learn to recognize common symptoms

  • Spotty losses in memory and mobility
  • Can have bounce back and bad days
  • Sudden symptoms that do not get better
  • Judgement and behavior ‘not the same’
  • Emotional and energy shifts

2. Learn to look for any changes, even small ones

Vascular dementia has a HIGH RISK of an acute event such as delirium and sudden changes in symptoms. There are also high probabilities of depressive and anxious episodes. It is even possible to experience periods where a down turn seems to improve.

The important thing to remember with vascular dementia is: it is unpredictable!

3. Pay Attention to Emotional States

It is crucial that we pay close attention to emotional levels. If the person living with VaD is in a flat, non-emotional state, you cannot approach them in a high energy, talkative mood. This will not help with the interaction, and instead, you will only wear them out.

To avoid this, take your energy way down and mirror theirs. You’re there simply to see if you can even get a connection with them.

Please Note: This is not depression and cannot be fixed with medication. Rather, the person living with VaD is not capable of caring about anything in those moments. It is best to be patient and understand that it will pass.

Get even more Tips and Advice
for Living with Vascular Dementia

Learn with Teepa Snow, founder of Positive Approach® to Care, and Linn Possell, Master PAC Trainer, about the causes of VaD, how it affects the brain, and what are early signs of change in cognition and ability to notice.

Get 2+ hours of practical tips and advice and build skills, meet needs, and address symptoms that affect behaviors.

View Video Excerpts:


Vascular Dementia: This is not depression and cannot be fixed with medication. Rather, the person living with VaD is not capable of caring about anything in those moments. It is best to be patient and understand that it will pass.

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