The symptoms of vascular dementia include memory loss, confusion, and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving, or language that are serious enough to interfere with daily life. These symptoms occur when the brain is damaged because of problems with the supply of blood to the brain, usually from a stroke or series of strokes. While the strokes may be unnoticeably small, the damage can add up over time. Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's disease.
A few years ago, my husband was diagnosed with vascular dementia after he suffered a stroke during surgery on the carotid artery. He has good days and sometimes not-so-good days. He has problems with calendar days and time. Sometimes, a name or word that he can clearly see in his mind can't come out of his mouth. When that happens, I usually say that I will google it, so it doesn't become too frustrating for both of us. His long-term memory is good; it's the short-term memory that he sometimes has problems with. Otherwise, things are good, by the grace of God.
Just recently, my husband and I visited his brother and one of our dear friends with this debilitating disease. Our friend was tied into a recliner, due to uncontrolled outbursts and wandering. He was sitting in front of the nurse's station, since he is in a much better mood amongst the hustle and bustle of nurses, doctors, and visitors passing by than being alone in his room. He didn't recognize us. At one point, he thought that I was his wife because he said, "Let's go home," as he was looking at me. When I think back a few years, how different things were. He was a strong, robust man, who is dwindling down to a frail individual, not knowing where or who he is because of this disease.
We look at the outside of the person, but God sees what is inside.
Psalm 139:1-2,7-10 – O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me. (NASB)
Are you a caretaker for a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's, and find yourself frustrated, angry, or feeling sorry for yourself? Remember, God created each and every one of us. Don't despair; He is walking beside our loved ones in Christ, until the time that He decides to call them home to a place where they will be whole again.
Revelation 21:4 – He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. (NASB)
Prayer: Almighty and loving God, we thank You that You are with us even though we do not see it. We thank You for providing nursing homes, assisted living places, palliative care units, doctors, nurses, and personal support workers to help us when our loved ones contract debilitating diseases. We ask You to guide and grant knowledge to the researchers, that they may come up with a cure. Grant the caretakers patience and strength. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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