How Can Strokes Affect Symptoms in Seniors with Dementia?

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Families of seniors with dementia often worry about what will happen if their loved ones have strokes. The brain needs adequate blood flow for optimal cognitive function. After having strokes, some people develop dementia for the first time, and the effects can be even more noticeable in people who already have dementia. Knowing why dementia worsens after a stroke can help you protect your aging loved one’s cognitive abilities.

How Strokes Affect the Brain

A stroke occurs when something happens within the brain that cuts off blood flow. Blood clots are a common cause of strokes. A stroke can also happen if a blood vessel ruptures and begins to leak blood into the surrounding tissues. In both cases, the ability for the brain to function normally stops.

Things that Affect the Severity of a Stroke

Science has still not been able to isolate a single reason some people fare worse than others after strokes. The current focus is on reducing the number of factors that influence how much a stroke affects the brain. For example, seniors who receive prompt medical attention do better. Certain medications can break up blood clots so seniors can have better outcomes.

Why Dementia Worsens

Dementia can have several different causes, and most tend to already involve some type of damage to the brain. Another injury to the brain can exacerbate the symptoms seniors with dementia already experience. This is especially pronounced when the stroke affects the part of the brain responsible for the dementia symptoms. For instance, your loved one may begin to have more difficulty with memory or the ability to use certain parts of the body.

A professional caregiver trained in dementia and stroke care can be a fantastic source of support for you and your loved one. Families looking for top-rated Columbus senior care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

How to Prevent Worsening Symptoms

The single most important thing you can do to prevent your loved one’s dementia from getting worse is to take steps to help him or her avoid having another stroke. With each stroke, the brain sustains more damage. Before your loved one gets home from the hospital, make sure he or she has the appropriate level of care needed to do things such as take medications on time. Your loved one may also need someone to stay with him or her to watch for signs of another stroke so he or she receives medical treatment as soon as possible.

Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

How to Plan for the Future

Recovering from a stroke takes time, and your loved one should see a gradual increase in his or her abilities, but that could take many months. For now, your loved one needs to have assistance with his or her daily routine. Seniors with worsening dementia symptoms after strokes may even need constant care that includes having multiple people provide assistance. Home caregivers can help with preparing nutritious meals, providing medication reminders, and taking your loved one to therapy appointments so he or she continues to make progress in recovery.

Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Columbus seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance. If your loved one needs assistance with the challenges of aging, reach out to one of our knowledgeable, compassionate Care Managers today at (614) 481-8888.


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