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How long must she suffer?


Question: My mum has had vascular dementia for the last nine years. She can't walk or remember who I am. She had her first stroke at the age of 47 and is now only 71. The doctor showed us that the disease is attacking all parts of the brain not just one area. She has been in a care home for last two years and is now talking about her dad beating her. How much longer will she have to suffer?

Dr. Amy: According to an article published by the Fisher Centre for Alzheimer’s Research, people with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia live, on average, about four and a half years after their condition is diagnosed. The age at which a person is diagnosed make a difference. Accordingly, people diagnosed in their sixties lived an average of 10.7 years after diagnosis, compared to 3.8 years among those diagnosed in their nineties.

I am sorry your mother is being upset by thoughts of her father beating her. I encourage you to speak to her doctor about this to see if she might benefit from medication to ease her anxiety. At the same time, you can comfort your mother by acknowledging her feelings and how hard it is to have these thoughts—and then changing the subject to something more pleasant and uplifting. I know you love your mother and want to ease her pain. But since the dementia has destroyed much of her brain power, she is not going to benefit from talking about negative things. Best to simply redirect her train of thought.

I send you peace.


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