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'Since her illness, she just grips so tight'

Despite a dramatic downturn in her condition following a recent stroke, eighty-year old Tuyet Nguyen still enjoys sitting with her daughter, Thuy Crawford, and watching her grandchildren play.

Peter Power/peter power The Globe and Mail

You can see she's lost. We've always held hands when we walk, when we go shopping. Since her illness, she just grips so tight."

Thuy Nguyen-Crawford is referring to her mother Tuyet Nguyen, 80. Since her second major stroke last month, her confusion has grown so great that she rarely leaves her daughter's side when she comes to visit.

It has been exhausting for Thuy, 39, who has three young children, and runs a consulting business with her husband. Diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2008, her mom can wake up five times a night, thinking that it's morning and Thuy is on her bed.

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But Mrs. Nguyen is also often alone with her ailing husband, 83, and Thuy worries that, if something happens to him, she won't be able to phone for help. A nursing home may lie ahead, which is complicated - her siblings tell her that it's like "sending someone off to die."

For now, "I am just going to try to keep my mom  as active as possible, and hope for the best."

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