How Do You Care For Lewy Body Dementia At Home
People with dementia with Lewy bodies usually can remain at home with their families. They require close supervision because they can fall or faint. They should be checked often by their medical team to monitor the effects of treatment and make changes if needed.
Individuals with dementia with Lewy bodies should remain physically, mentally, and socially active as long as they are able.
- Daily physical exercise helps maximize body and mind functions and maintains a healthy weight.
- The individual should engage in as much mental activity as he or she can handle. Puzzles, games, reading, and safe hobbies and crafts are good choices. These activities should ideally be interactive
- Social interaction is stimulating and enjoyable for most people with dementia with Lewy bodies. Most senior centers or community centers have scheduled activities that are suitable for those with dementia.
A balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables will help maintain a healthy weight and prevent malnutrition and constipation. An individual with dementia with Lewy bodies should not smoke, both for health and safety reasons.
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Coping With A Diagnosis
Being diagnosed with dementia can be an overwhelming experience. While there is no cure at present for LBD, or any medications aimed at specifically treating LBD, doctors are able to treat many of its symptoms. There are also a number of self-help strategies that can help improve symptoms.
If youve been diagnosed with LBD, its normal to feel many strong and painful emotions, including anger, fear, and uncertainty about the future.
Take time to adjust. As with any major life change, its important to give yourself time to adjust. Expect ups and downs as you do. You may feel that youve come to terms with your new situation for a while, and then suddenly feel overwhelmed by stress again.
Reach out for support. Living with Lewy body dementia is not easy, but there is help for this journey. The more support you have from family and friends, the better youll be able to cope with symptoms.
Talk to your loved ones about your wishes. Its never easy to talk about how you want your healthcare handled when youre unable to make decisions for yourself. But its important to let your loved one know what is important to you. Thinking about your choices today can improve your quality of life in the future and ease the burden on your family.
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How Is Lbd Different From Parkinsons Or Alzheimers
These diseases are similar in a lot of ways. But there are some key differences in the symptoms that affect people with LBD and when those symptoms happen.
LBD may not cause short-term memory loss like Alzheimerâs. People with both conditions have trouble with thinking, alertness, and paying attention. But in LBD, those problems come and go. The disease can also cause hallucinations, often in the first few years someone has LBD. People with Alzheimerâs usually donât have hallucinations until the later stages.
People with LBD also often act out their dreams and make violent movements when theyâre asleep. Itâs called REM sleep behavior disorder. Sometimes, itâs the first sign that someone has LBD.
LBD and Parkinsonâs disease both cause movement problems, like stiff muscles and tremors. But most people with Parkinsonâs donât have problems with their thinking and memory until the very later stages of their disease. Sometimes, they donât have it at all. In the type of LBD known as Parkinsonâs disease with dementia, these problems begin much sooner.
People with LBD also need different drugs for their condition than the ones that treat Parkinsonâs or Alzheimerâs.
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What Is Hospice Care
A great deal of overlap exists in the ways in which palliative care and hospice care are organized and provided, as outlined in the table below. The primary difference is that hospice programs are intended for people who are in the later stages of an incurable illness that has progressed to the point where providing basic supportive care and measures to ensure comfort take precedence over treatments that attempt to slow disease progression. The goal of hospice care, like palliative care in general, is to offer relief from pain and other symptoms for the patients, while providing emotional support to patients and their families.
What Is Palliative Care
The goal of palliative medicine is to improve quality of life by relieving the symptoms of disease. Accepting palliative care services does not mean that someone has given up hope of a cure. Instead, it signifies recognition that the quality of ones life is as important as its duration. Generally speaking, palliative care can benefit people of any age at any stage of illness, whether that illness is curable, chronic, or life-threatening. For example, patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, or emphysema can be helped by palliative care. It is important to note that patients can receive palliative care while actively pursuing curative treatment for their conditions. In the early and middle stages of LBD palliative care can be handled by the individuals regular primary care physician and specialists. All LBD symptoms, such as constipation, sleep disorders, and behavioral problems, should be evaluated for their impact on the quality of life of the person with LBD and the primary family caregiver.
- Relief from troubling symptoms
- Assistance in medical decision making
- Emotional and spiritual support
- Care coordination
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Slowing The Progression Of Symptoms
The same healthy lifestyle changes that are used to prevent dementia can also be useful in slowing the advancement of LBD symptoms.
To learn more about putting these strategies into action, see Preventing Alzheimers Disease.
Support For Healthy Eating
1. Choosing a plate that has a different color from the food so that the person with dementia can see it more clearly.
It also helps to offer flavourful food.
2. Feeding them or putting a drink in their hand if they have difficulties seeing it.
3. Giving the individual enough time to eat and drink.
4. Encouraging the person to participate in exercise during the day can help to increase appetite.
5. Try and give them foods that they enjoy, especially if you can provide a healthier option so that the suffering person can always look forward to mealtimes.
For instance, if a person prefers sweet food, you can always serve them a lot of fruit and a little forward so that at the end of the day, they still consume a balanced diet that is good for their health.
Note that smells and tastes from their favorite foods can stimulate the appetite.
Additionally, it is essential to serve tender food that is cut into small bites so that the person with dementia does not have a tough time chewing and swallowing the food.
6. Avoid distractions and overstimulation in the dining areas.
Turning off the TV or radio and making sure people do not make too much noise during meal times can help create the ideal eating environment.
8. At times, in dire cases, family members may consider going the artificial feeding route.
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Symptoms Specific To Frontotemporal Dementia
Although Alzheimer’s disease is still the most common type of dementia in people under 65, a higher percentage of people in this age group may develop frontotemporal dementia than older people. Most cases are diagnosed in people aged 45-65.
Early symptoms of frontotemporal dementia may include:
- personality changes reduced sensitivity to others’ feelings, making people seem cold and unfeeling
- lack of social awareness making inappropriate jokes or showing a lack of tact, though some people may become very withdrawn and apathetic
- language problems difficulty finding the right words or understanding them
- becoming obsessive such as developing fads for unusual foods, overeating and drinking
Read more about frontotemporal dementia.
What Is The Prognosis For Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Like other types of degenerative dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies is gradually progressive.
- Dementia with Lewy bodies eventually affects a person’s job performance. Many people with dementia with Lewy bodies take early retirement from their jobs.
- The person with dementia with Lewy bodies will eventually lose his or her ability to drive safely. Driving privileges should be addressed by the caregivers and care team.
- Eventually the person will lose the ability to care for himself or herself.
- Dementia with Lewy bodies shortens life expectancy.
The rate of progression varies considerably, but most people die within 5-7 years after their disease is diagnosed. The cause of death is usually a complication of the disease.
- People with the disease develop severe dementia and eventually may have only limited ability to move.
- They are at risk of falls because of poor balance and walking difficulties.
- Many have difficulties swallowing, which leads to poor nutrition and sometimes pneumonia .
- They eventually become immobile, which can lead to skin problems, pneumonia, and other complications.
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How Hospice Can Help With End
In addition to helping you in recognizing the signs of dying in the elderly with dementia, bringing in hospice care will help with the physical and emotional demands of caregiving. Nurses will be able to adjust medication and care plans as the individuals needs change. Aides can help with bathing, grooming, and other personal care. Social workers can help organize resources for the patient and family. Chaplains and bereavement specials can help the family with any emotional or spiritual needs. Additionally, family members can contact hospice at any time, and do not need to wait until it is recommended by the patients physician.
To learn more about the criteria for hospice eligibility or to schedule a consultation, please contact Crossroads using the blue Help Center bar on this page for more information on how we can help provide support to individuals with dementia and their families.
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Symptoms Of Lewy Body Dementia
Most forms of dementia initially affect specific parts of the brain, but Lewy bodies may develop in several different areas of the brain and can cause a wider range of physical and behavioral symptoms.
Common symptoms include: difficulty with thinking, movement, sleep, memory, and depth perception. There may be changes in mood and behavior, such as depression, anxiety, and agitation. In addition, bodily functions are affected as the disease progresses, including the ability to regulate body temperature, bladder and bowel control, and blood pressure control. The range of possible symptoms includes many of the same ones seen in persons with Alzheimers disease and Parkinsons disease.
Symptoms Similar to Parkinsons Disease Moving slowly and shuffling or shaking as the individual walks Walking or standing very stiffly, with arms and legs flexed Having a blank expression / staring into space Balance issues / regular falls
Symptoms Similar to Alzheimers Disease Problems making new memories or recalling past memories Becoming easily confused Making odd or inappropriate decisions and actions
Symptoms Relatively Unique to Lewy Body Dementia Symptoms improve or worsen from moment to moment or hour to hour Hallucinating, especially visually Delusions Becoming active and violent at night, acting out dreams due to a condition that develops called rapid eye movement sleep disorder
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Lewy Body Dementia Introduction
LBD is a disease associated with abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. These deposits, called Lewy bodies, affect chemicals in the brain whose changes, in turn, can lead to problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood. LBD is one of the most common causes of dementia, after Alzheimer’s disease and vascular disease.
Dementia is a severe loss of thinking abilities that interferes with a person’s capacity to perform daily activities such as household tasks, personal care, and handling finances. Dementia has many possible causes, including stroke, tumor, depression, and vitamin deficiency, as well as disorders such as LBD, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.
Diagnosing LBD can be challenging for a number of reasons. Early LBD symptoms are often confused with similar symptoms found in brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. Also, LBD can occur alone or along with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
There are two types of LBD – dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease dementia. The earliest signs of these two diseases differ but reflect the same biological changes in the brain. Over time, people with dementia with Lewy bodies or Parkinson’s disease dementia may develop similar symptoms.
Stage Six: Severe Cognitive Decline
Individuals in stage six need a high level of support to live comfortably. Memory loss tends to be significant, and many in stage six dementia are only able to recall memories of early life. Incontinence is common in this stage, and many patients also begin to lose their ability to speak. A change in personality may occur during this time period, which lasts an average of 2.5 years.
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Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease
Due to our close experience with dementia and weight loss, we found it essential to conduct this extensive article.
People who have dementia may, at one point in the illness, may deal with weight loss at the same time.
This especially happens in the later stages of the disease.
This can be very heartbreaking, due to the fact that food is a very crucial part of a persons existence and health.
Below we talk about weight loss in people who have dementia.
We mention causes, negative effects, and how to manage this distressing condition.
The Seven Stages Of Lewy Body Dementia
I am excited to have found a new LBD resource. Unfortunately my finding led to another finding that I am probably a Stage 4 Lewy patient on a 7-part scale.
My new resource is Norma Loeb, and she runs the Lewy Body Dementia Resource Center.
She contacted me recently after hearing the K-Pod podcast where I was interviewed by Kerri Kasem, daughter of Top-40 radio personality Casey Kasem who they believe died of LBD.
So glad she contacted me because the first thing I noticed going to her website was a post listing the seven stages of Lewy body. I have heard people talk of different stages. but I dont believe I knew there were seven and I havent seen anything breaking that down in simple language like this.
I would classify myself in Stage 3 at best, but most probably Stage 4 based on this scale. Yikes. Although I believe I was diagnosed early. It has been nearly three years and it appears I am moving up the scale rather quickly. Makes it a little more serious when I put it like that.
I need to stretch my stages out a little longer, I think.
Without further ado, here is Norma Loebs post:
Dementia is a disease that affects millions of Americans. There are several types of dementia that we know of, including Alzheimers Disease and Lewy Body Dementia.
While forms of dementia vary in symptoms and severity, the Global Deterioration Scale aids in identifying the typical progression.
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What Your Diagnosis Means
Your doctor may describe the diagnosis in a number of different ways:
- “It is an illness which is different from Alzheimer’s disease.” Your doctor should then explain that unlike people with Alzheimer’s, people with LBD typically fluctuate in states of consciousness from day to day or even from hour to hour that they are likely to have problems with balance, movement and gait, and may experience visual hallucinations. Unfortunately it is likely that these symptoms will get worse over time.
- “It is an illness related to Parkinson’s disease.” Your doctor should then explain that some of the symptoms are similar to those of Parkinson’s. These are referred to as Parkinsonisms and include problems with balance, walking and slowness of movement. Although Lewy bodies are present in both LBD and Parkinson’s disease, they are found in different areas of the brain.
When To Seek Help
Individuals should seek help if they believe that they or someone they know is showing signs of LBD, including changes in cognition, behavior, movement, or sleep.
Typically, individuals should see a family doctor first, who may perform some tests. The doctor may then refer the individual to a specialist, such as a neurologist or psychiatrist.
To prepare for the appointment, it can be helpful to write out:
- a detailed list of all symptoms, when they began, and their severity
- any relevant medical history or family history
- all medications and supplements taken
- a list of questions for the doctor
It can also be a good idea to bring along a family member or close friend who can provide support and give the doctor more information about symptoms.
LBD can affect many areas of a persons life. Therefore, building a specialist care team can provide the most comprehensive support and care for the person.
The NIA note that, in addition to neurologists and other doctors, specialists that can help
cognitive symptoms, such as changes to memory and thinking. They may also reduce hallucinations and delusions.
A healthcare professional may also prescribe atypical antipsychotics off-label.
However, a person should take these with caution. This is because they can cause severe side effects and worsen movement symptoms.
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