What is Lewy Body Dementia
Lewy Body Dementia is a form of progressive dementia that impacts an individual’s executive function, memory, cognition skills, spatial abilities and language. Lewy Body Dementia or LBD is unique because it is one of the most common types of dementia to afflict seniors and is also the most underdiagnosed form of dementia due to its complex nature.
Signs & Symptoms
|Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia||
The signs and symptoms of LBD can vary depending on the patient, the severity of their condition and an overlapping diagnosis of non-tremor Parkinsons. This list serves to highlight common symptoms of note.
Living with Lewy Body Dementia for the Patient:
For the patient, living with LBD is extremely challenging. The progressive decline in executive function and cognitive abilities immediately impacts individuals who live on their own and prefer to maintain an independent lifestyle.
Fundamental cognitive survival skills like the ability to reason or enact a multi-step process is limited. Memory-loss and reduced attention span mean that simple tasks like going to the grocery store, banking, or a doctor’s visit are compromised because an individual with LBD might forget the way home, or their banking information, or worst of all – driving related safety rules. Visual-spatial changes make a usually safe home dangerous and increases fall risk.
As LBD progresses, these changes become more pronounced and worsen with hallucinations and delusions that manifest in paranoia or even sexually inappropriate language and gestures.
LBD symptoms and progressive nature make it clear that additional care is required from the diagnosis stage onwards, if not earlier. While individuals with LBD might find this difficult to accept, without an appropriate Lewy Body Dementia in home care plan, both their health and safety are at risk, as is your sanity as a family member.
Caring for a person with Lewy Body Dementia:
For caregivers, supporting a family member or loved one with Lewy Body Dementia can be challenging and has a steep learning curve. Due to the progressive nature of dementia, the symptoms worsen over time and become more difficult to manage. For example, if an individual with LBD has occasional lapses in speech during the earlier stages of their diagnosis, then it is likely that during the severe or later stages that their ability to communicate is very limited or even non-verbal. This makes it so that a caregiver has to both anticipate what comes next while managing the present range of symptoms.
Beyond physical impacts on caregivers, the mental and emotional toll of caring for a loved one are also immense. Living with LBD means that care is required 24/7. Watching your loved one decline, and change to a degree that you are not able to reason with them or see the familiar person you once knew is very difficult.
Diagnosis and Care
Individuals are typically diagnosed with LBD in the moderate to severe stages, after an uptick in symptoms or when a previous treatment plan is not working. Unfortunately, because Lewy Body Dementia diagnoses and treatment is so specific, most general physicians or emergency room physicians are not familiar with the nuances of the symptoms so it often goes undiagnosed until later stages. Individuals with LBD require specific caregiving protocols and not all health care practitioners are familiar with them.
Professional caregivers – whether in the home, or at an assisted living facility – typically have multiple years of experience and education with dementia home care to help patients navigate their diagnosis. They are able to serve as a liaison between the patient, their medical team, and the family to help everyone understand both the patient’s needs and the next steps in their journey of care.
Comprehensive LBD care plans require experienced individuals with education and awareness to maximize benefits to the patient and their families. LBD is the type of condition that requires constant care, monitoring and a variety of strategies to problem-solve any potential issues.
When feasible, professional in-home caregiving is recommended for patients with LBD because the familiar environment of their home provides comfort and privacy. In-home care also provides a 1:1 caregiver: patient ratio with 24/7 care. This specific and detailed level of care helps reduce anxiety and stress for both the patient and their families. Experienced caregivers provide more than help with meals, toileting, providing company, and managing behaviors – they ease the difficulty and the burden of care during this challenging time.
Managing care for a loved one with Lewy Body Dementia is no easy or simple task. There are multiple roles and responsibilities to fulfill, and it is a full-time job.
With over 17 years of experience across the Dallas and Fort Worth Metroplex, Care Mountain provides quality, and highly experienced caregivers to help support you and your loved one living with Lewy Body dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. We have worked with families from Dallas, Preston Hollow, Highland Park, Southlake, Richardson, Plano, McKinney, Frisco, Rowlett, Bedford, Euless, Arlington.
We offer flexible options for both live-in and hourly in-home care and provide specialized and expert care for all stages of a progressive condition. A carefully matched and personalized caregiver can help with daily tasks and provide your loved one with consistent care and comfort in the familiar surroundings of their home while maintaining the physical and behavioral support they need to help their condition. Dementia home care, and specifically Lewy Body Dementia home care are both areas of expertise for Care Mountain and our team of caregivers.