If you think you have to be a smoker, a drinker, overweight, or have high blood pressure to have a stroke, think again. My Granny was in her early 80’s when she had two strokes within a year’s time, the second one was a massive stroke. That left her with Dementia from the damage done to her brain and she became a violent shell of herself over time. She died a couple of years later.
She ate a clean diet, had quit smoking 40 years earlier, never drank, didn’t have high blood pressure, and weighed all of 110 pounds soaking wet.
Strokes can happen to anyone.
Doctors were never able to give us an explanation and this is why I write this post. May is Stroke Awareness Month and you need to know what can happen if you or a loved one develops Dementia from a stroke.
Dementia is like Alzheimer’s in that it robs your memory. The first stroke the damage wasn’t as bad so she knew something was wrong with her and was very unhappy but not violent. The second stroke hit a large part of her brain and affected her memory in the worst way.
Imagine knowing you are sick, you don’t understand what is going on, and you confused all the time. My Granny became violent by hitting herself in the head or banging her head on the wall saying she didn’t want to live like that.
You have two choices medically, do nothing or find a Psychiatrist who can prescribe the right types of drugs to calm them down. The latter is often found as a warning on medication labels, Not for use for elderly Dementia patients.
My gramps and I had to decide what was best for my granny, not society. We found a good doctor who put her medication to try to slow the Dementia down, and a combination of other drugs to keep her a bit zoned out but not over-drugged.
This worked fine for a time, then she became solely dependent on my gramps being with her. He couldn’t leave the house any longer. The doctor had given us four emergency pills for if or when she became too violent. To date, we had not used any. My gramps went to get groceries and I was there with her. After five minutes she kept saying he had been gone an hour and why wasn’t he back yet. I tried to distract her with a little photo album I made of her and gramps and her favorite dog. That worked a few times. She would come back to why is he taking so long. why is he taking so long?
I got up and showed her on the clock exactly when he left and what time it was, it had only been 15 minutes. The logic didn’t compute. She continued to escalate to the point of saying why did gramps leave her here. I asked her where she was and she didn’t know but didn’t recognize she was in her own home. I took photos off the wall to show her my dad, brother, gramps, and myself. Nothing worked, she was convinced he had left her somewhere.
She became very violent, hitting herself in the head, banging her head against the wall screaming for my gramps. I had to think quick. It was time for the emergency medication. I was able to convince her we forgot to take one of her medications and she took the pill. It knocked out and I thanked God!
My gramps was not able to leave home again until after she died.
This is just one example, there are many and each an extremely painful to watch. It breaks your heart not to be able to help your loved one.
I will STRONGLY say, do whatever you have to do to make your loved ones’ life more comfortable if they become violent. Don’t settle for less or you will be making hospital visits.
These posts will give you an even better idea of the hell life is like for a Dementia caregiver.