How to Care for a Parent With Lewy Body Dementia

When your Mom or Dad’s health starts to fail, it can be a scary time for both you and your parent. This is especially true when it comes to Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). LBD affects an estimated 1.4 million people in the United States, and the far-reaching affects impact not only patients but their families as well.

What is Lewy Body Dementia?

It is a type of dementia closely associated with Parkinson’s disease. It derives its name from Lewy bodies, which are clumps of proteins detectable in the brain. LBDs are the second most common form of degenerative dementia, with only Alzheimer’s disease being more common.

Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia

The symptoms of Lewy body dementia are quite different than other similar diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. Those with LBD will experience impaired thinking, fluctuations in attention and cognition, problems with movement, sleep disorders and hallucinations. Behavioral and mood symptoms such as depression, anxiety and paranoia often accompany this disease as well.

Although Lewy body dementia is common, it is often misdiagnosed. Medication can help reduce some symptoms, but LBD patients react very negatively to some of the medications commonly used for Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s diseases.

Holistic Treatment Options

With a disease like Lewy body dementia, it’s important to have a holistic program of care that includes both medical and non-medical treatments

Non-medical treatment options for this disease include physical therapy to help with movement issues, speech therapy for speech and swallowing problems, occupational therapy to promote independence, and psychotherapy to learn strategies to manage the behavioral and emotional issues that are part of the disease. Support groups can also be very helpful for those who are giving regular care to someone with LBD.

Finding a Caregiver who Specializes in Dementia

Many times dementia patients, including LBD sufferers, become too overwhelming for family members to care for alone. In that case, you’ll need to start looking for help. While there are many caregivers available, it’s important to find someone who specializes in caring for patients with dementia.

We have caregivers who are trained in either medical or non-medical care for patients suffering from dementia. We’d be happy to help you find someone to care for your loved one, whether you need an occasional break or a long-term in-home care solution. For more information call us at one of our local offices.