Does anyone here have a LO with vascular dementia? My mom was diagnosed with it last year. She is in a nursing home and she is medicated but she cries a lot. She seems to either sleep or cry, she rarely smiles and can't really hold a conversation anymore. Her psychiatrist said it is a symptom of the disease to have excess emotion and that she is not really sad.

I'm just looking for insight. It is sad to know she cries so much.

My late husband died with vascular dementia, and he never had extreme sadness, however vascular dementia can be responsible for behavioral and emotional changes.
Apathy, which is loss of motivation and initiative, is a very characteristic feature of vascular dementia, and sometimes apathy is mistaken for depression because both conditions include reduced motivation and social interaction, but mood is not depressed in apathy.
The distinction between apathy and depression is very important because some antidepressants which may relieve symptoms of depression can actually aggravate apathy.
So perhaps I would have a discussion with her doctor and make sure that your mom is in fact on the right medications and that they're not actually aggravating her apathy instead of helping.
The only positive thing(if you will)with vascular dementia is that it is the most aggressive of all the dementias with a life expectancy of just 5 years, so hopefully you mom doesn't have much longer to suffer.
You might even want to see if bringing hospice on board now might be helpful for you and your mom as it will be extra sets of eyes on her and they will make sure that she is kept comfortable and pain free until she leaves this world for the next.
My late husband was under hospice care in our home for the last 22 months of his life. He was diagnosed with vascular dementia in July 2018(even though I know he had it for at least a year prior)and died in Sept. 2020.
I am sorry that you're having to go through this with your mom.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to funkygrandma59
Msblcb Jun 7, 2024
You are absolutely correct about apathy. I do not believe my mom was depressed but she simply had no interest in anything. Her personality was somewhat that way, introverted, fearful and not very brave when considering new things or activities. She tended to have high side effects from any medication. I decided not to give her antidepressants because of that potential reaction,

She was not someone that cried but had no interest in anything. Very sad and very hard to manage.
My mother had vascular dementia for 6 years. When she started crying ( more than usual), I called her PCP and told him she was showing classic symptoms of depression, so he put her on Wellbutrin, not a very high dose at the time. She very quickly got back to her normal self.

As the dementia progressed and mom and dad went into Assisted Living, her behavior got more aggressive and weepy. Her Wellbutrin was increased and again, she improved. No other meds were prescribed for her until she went into Memory Care Assisted Living 3 years before she died at 95 years old. She was crying a lot once again, so the Wellbutrin was upped to the max dose of 300mgs a day. That helped. She was also given Ativan .50 mgs for aggressive behavior and insisting on riding the subway (in Colorado) to go see mama and papa (long gone) in NYC. Her Sundowning was bad. Ativan helped some, but did not calm her completely. Once she went on hospice, the Ativan was scheduled and she was more relaxed.

Your mother MAY be reacting to Haldol. It's an antipsychotic drug given to schizophrenics. It should not be given to anyone with depressive disorders, per online research. Meaning, to me, it could cause depression!

My mother was THE QUEEN of side effects with meds. If she was taking a new med and started acting differently, I knew right away the med was to blame. And 100% of the time, it WAS.

I think her psychiatrist is off the mark entirely saying, "it is a symptom of the disease to have excess emotion and that she is not really sad." What is she then, happy???? Absurd! Rather than admit a drug he prescribed possibly isn't having the desired effect, he's resorting to gibberish to explain constant crying? Sure, folks with dementia have emotions, but should NOT be crying all day!

My mother did great with pot edibles while living in AL. Was the only time she was fully anxiety free, not hating on others, laughing and RELAXED. So pot IS legal in New York as of 2021. Whether the NH will allow it or not is the $64,000 question. Plus, combining it with Haldol can cause extreme dizziness. When mom was in Memory Care Assisted Living, they allowed me to purchase CBD gummies for her, w/o THC, which were useless in HER case. It's the THC which creates the feeling of joy and wellbeing. Without it, just buy a bag of Haribo gummies and save a lot of $$$$$ 🙄

If this were my mother, I'd get her off Haldol and on some good antidepressants to see what happens. Speak to her PCP.

Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to lealonnie1

OK, I am uncertain how much MD interaction you have here or what has been tried. I am going to assume you are in contact. There is a whole host of medications to try. Start with the mild antidepressants, and I hear some of the newer medications for emotional lability are good.

But--and stick with me here; I'm 81 and was NEVER a hippie--there is medical cannibis!
I am hearing this is being used more and more and I have a close FB friend whose own mom was put on it and has had a somewhat miraculous turnaround. For history, P.'s mom has been in care a long time. She has reached the stages where she no longer knows anyone, even daughter or son. Then she became morose, without appetite and finally completely non-communicative despite intense and loving care and daily visits. She was put on medical cannibis and she is now happy, pleasant, interested, eating and talking. No, she doesn't still know her daughter or son. But she is in good spirits. She is on hospice and was hear death, and when she made a turn around there as well I teased P. that she's sticking around for the "good drugs" a while longer.

I don't know if anyone else has experience of this, as I haven't seen it on AC, and am often here.

I wish you the best of luck. Discuss medications with MD. Hope you will update us.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to AlvaDeer

Thank you both. I spoke with her psychiatrist last night. He said they tried to wean her back on the halidol she is on now and she just became angry. So they went back to the original dose (3mg during the day, 2mg at night). She was difficult a year ago before she entered the nursing home but she is just a completely different person now. The doctor told me that vascular dementia causes many people to have excessive emotions. He said she is not sad but rather she has emotions that she cannot control. He told me that she may need hospice in the next six months if things do not change, I am ok with that. Right now, I am just very sad that this is her life but she is safe and well cared for.

I will follow your advice and ask the nursing home about THC. I use it to sleep at night but I am not sure if it is legal in NY. It is where I live.

I love this site! I follow both of the people who responded and I want to thank you both for giving me some insight. Funkygrandma59, I am sorry for your loss but thank you for sharing.
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Reply to Sadkid22
Geaton777 Jun 1, 2024
Everything about dementia is hard. I'm glad you are internalizing the perspective that she is safe and well-cared for. Some elders don't even have that much. May you receive peace in your heart on the rest of this journey.
The part about uncontrollable emotions in vascular dementia from my experience is correct. My father cried at the drop of a pin, or switched to anger, primarily towards me but later on towards care givers. It was like I was dealing with Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde, he was prescribed donepazil and seroquel which was adjusted as the illness progressed. It worked great.

Take a look at the Alzheimer's website "

This forum and the Alzheimer's website have been a sanity saver for me.

Best wishes
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to SusanHeart

My mom was diagnosed with vascular dementia in May 2022. Early last year she became very weepy and would somtimes cry if you speak to her. This was driving me crazy so I spoke with her PCP about it and she put her on 10mg Escitalopram (Lexapro), one a day. It made a world of difference for me and her. Her PCP also recommended vitamin d (3 weeks ago) because her levels were low. My mom has shown even more happiness and well being since she started taking them.
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Reply to ima7777


mg mom was also diagnosed with vascular dementia. She used to cry all the time. Wouldn’t sleep. Etc
Npw she never cries but never laughs or miles anymore. She seems to be emotionless. It’s so bizarre and heart wrenching. The quality of life is gone and now needs help with everything
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Kittykat59

I agree to talk to her primary doctor about readjusting her meds. We had to do this with my MIL before finding the right combo. If they are dosed by weight and if your Mom has lost or gained any, then this needs to be checked.

Is your Mom in AL? If so, are the meds being administered to her by staff? Or is she taking them herself? I would confirm this.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Geaton777
Sadkid22 Jun 1, 2024
I have talked to the social worker, head nurse, and her psychiatrist about her meds. They have tried multiple things but she gets angry when they pull back on the meds. Conversely she just sleeps if she is given her current dosage. I think she may be nearing the end and the psychiatrist suggested she may need hospice in the next six months.
She has been in a nursing home for the last year. We saw the signs of dementia for 2 years before she entered the NH. Paranoia, delusions, wandering, it was really scary and she was angry and difficult to deal with. At least now she is safe.
I seriously can’t believe a Dr would give an elderly person haldol. It’s poison for sure.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to lynn1992
PeggySue2020 Jun 7, 2024
My dad’s hospice put him on Haldol. I asked them to add Seroquel, which was the med he used thereafter.

In your case, I would look into hospice. Theres no reason to take blood thinners or statins unless they intend on treating the stroke or heart attack that they’re meant to prevent. She has vascular dementia and is already in nh and the whole point is comfort.
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Hello All and thank you for offering insight. I just wanted to say that my mom is on other drugs as well as Haloperidol. She is also on sertraline for depression and a bunch of other meds for high cholesterol and blood thinners. It is all very confusing. The psychiatrist indicated that she needs these meds and when they try to cut back she becomes angry and difficult. It is hard because I am not there. I live across the country from her as does my sister. I have discussed her meds with her social worker and the head nurse but I am not in the medical profession. It's hard to know what is the right thing to do.
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Reply to Sadkid22

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