Could a hypoxic episode cause dementia?

Viking asked...

A month ago, my seventy-four year old husband got a clean bill of health from the doctor. Three days later, he suffered hypoxia, the lack of oxygen to his brain. He had pneumonia which kept the oxygen from getting to his brain. He is now in a nursing home and his diagnosis is dementia. The person I am married to for 50 years is gone. I don't know this person anymore. Could the lack of oxygen caused the dementia to "blossom"? He had no symptoms of a problem before this. Is there any hope for us or will be be confined to the nursing home? Please someone give me some hope!

Expert Answer

A social worker and geriatric consultant who specializes in dementia care, Joyce Simard is based in Land O' Lakes, Florida, and in Prague. She is a well-known speaker and has written two books, one focusing on end-of-life care and the other, entitled The Magic Tape Recorder, explaining aging, memory loss, and how children can be helpers to their elders.

This is a very difficult response to your question.  Yes, a hypoxic episode can cause brain damage which is like a stroke and as you know people who have had a stroke sometimes recover.  If he does not become upset try simple word games, flash cards and perhaps pictures of your family, trips you have taken and other happy occasions.  If he likes to sing, play the old Mitch Miller sing-a-long tapes.  Above all, just love him ,  hold his hand, show your love.  The power of "loving touch" is incredible