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Alzheimer`s Disease/Problems with Vascular dementia

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Question
My dad has been diagnosed with vascular dementia resulting from a stroke in 2008. Until about June of this year we have seen very litle signs of this. Starting in June he began crying a lot, now he cries all day long, non-stop very loudly. He is also becoming very combative. He has always been a very gentle caring laid back type of person. This is cause severe stress on my mom, having to listen to the crying all day. He doesn't want to eat much unless we give him medication to help with his appetite. He tells us everyday he wants to go home and we cannot convince him he is at his house. He always knows who everybody is, but just don't think he's at home. Waht can we do about the non-stop crying.

Answer
Hello Donna:  I'm sorry to hear of your dad's current suffering and I hope you can help him through this quickly.  
I must apologize for the delay in answering this--I neglected to tell AllExperts I would be out of town and I just returned.
It sounds to me as if the damage in his brain from his strokes could be why he's crying so much, but I am not a physician.  He must be evaluated by a neurologist as soon as possible to see if there is any structural reason in his brain for the constant stimulation that may be triggering this crying--maybe an accumulation of fluid in that area of his brain that constantly puts pressure on it.  They would probably do some type of scan and if nothing new is found, they could start him on a medication that may help.  
It's important for you and your family to stop trying to convince him he is already at home--just go along with his reality and give him hope that he will get what he wants soon.  If he will forget what you've told him in a few hours, then you could stall for time by saying something like "Okay dad, we'll take  you home just as soon as ...."  The goal is to give him hope and keep him calm and happy and you will never accomplish that if you are always trying to make his damaged brain believe what is your reality and not his reality.  
This is a very challenging time for all of you and it would help all of you if you could learn ways to interact with him that help keep him calm.  There are books available, and my book, "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem - Caregiver Survival Manual For Living With A Person With Dementia" would greatly help all of you as well as give you answers to questions you haven't even asked yet.  I encourage you to think about reading that.  
Good luck to you Donna as you help your dad move forward on his journey through dementia.  Cindy
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Alzheimer`s Disease

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Cindy Keith, RN, BS, Certified Dementia Practitioner

Expertise

As a nurse and dementia consultant, I can answer most questions on all types of dementia. If I cannot answer your question, I will attempt to find someone who can. My passion is to help caregivers of people with dementia, which in turn helps all those wonderful elders with dementia live better lives. When caregivers are better educated, they are able to better care for themselves and their loved ones, so education is key to decreased stress levels and healthier, happier families.

Experience

I have worked as a nurse in various disciplines of nursing for over 20 years, most of which was with the elderly. I was a health care coordinator in a dementia dedicated assisted living facility for 4 years before I started my own business (M.I.N.D. in Memory Care) as a dementia consultant six years ago. As a dementia consultant, I help families nationwide through phone conference calls as they struggle to care for their loved ones with dementia.

Organizations
Alzheimer's Foundation of America Geriatric Interest Network Sigma Theta Tau International

Publications
Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem - Caregiver Survival Manual For Living With A Person With Dementia" which is a collection of stories about people with dementia I have known, loved and worked with. Every story has a lesson to teach and this book gently teaches family caregivers lessons about how to better care for their loved one, as well as themselves during their caregiving journey. Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem In Eldercare Facilities: The Master Key For Dementia Training" Created "Bringing Nurturing To Memory Care" staff dementia training video Created Ebook: "Hair Stylist's Helpful Tips For Working With People With Alzheimer's & Other Dementias"

Education/Credentials
Registered Nurse with Bachelor's degree in Nursing; Certified Dementia Practitioner; Author of 2 books and an ebook

Awards and Honors
Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society of Nursing

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