Treating vascular dementia 

There's currently no cure for vascular dementia and no way to reverse the damage to the brain that's already occurred, but treatments can help prevent further damage and may help slow down its progression.

When you are diagnosed with dementia, your future health and social care needs will need to be assessed and a care plan drawn up.

This is a way of ensuring you receive the right treatment for your needs. It involves identifying areas where you may need some assistance, such as:

  • what support you or your carer need for you to remain as independent as possible
  • whether there are any changes that need to be made to your home to make it easier to live in
  • whether you need any financial assistance

Read more about care plans.

Treating underlying conditions

The main aim of treatment for vascular dementia is to treat the underlying cause. This will usually involve making healthy lifestyle changes and taking medication.

Treating the underlying condition can help prevent further problems, such as strokes, and may help slow down or stop the progression of vascular dementia if it's diagnosed early.

Lifestyle changes

Adopting a healthier lifestyle should help reduce your risk of experiencing further damage to your brain. This may involve:

The above links will take you to information and advice on making these lifestyle changes.


Any medication you're prescribed will depend on the underlying condition you have. You may be offered:

Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors such as donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Reminyl) or rivastigmine (Exelon), which are commonly used to treat Alzheimer's disease, aren't designed to treat vascular dementia specifically, but may sometimes be used.

They can be particularly helpful if you have a combination of vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Supportive measures and treatments

There are also a number of therapies that can help make everyday living easier if you have dementia. These include:

  • occupational therapy to identify problem areas in everyday life, such as getting dressed, and help work out practical solutions
  • speech and language therapy to help improve any communication  problems
  • physiotherapy to help with movement difficulties
  • psychological treatments, such as cognitive stimulation, to help improve memory, problem-solving skills, and language ability
  • relaxation therapies, such as aromatherapy, music or dance therapy, and massage

Read more about living well with dementia.

Legal matters

If you've been diagnosed with dementia, you'll need to make arrangements for your care that take into account the possible decline in your mental abilities. This should include ensuring that your wishes are upheld if you're not able to make decisions for yourself.

You may wish to draw up an advance decision after first receiving a diagnosis of dementia. This makes your treatment preferences known now in case you are unable to do this in the future.

You may also want to consider giving a relative lasting power of attorney. This is the power to make decisions about you if you are unable to.

Read more about managing legal affairs for someone with dementia.

Advice for carers

If you care for someone with dementia, you may find it helpful to read more about:

Page last reviewed: 22/01/2015

Next review due: 22/01/2017