If your family is facing a diagnosis of Lewy body dementia (LBD), you probably have lots of questions. You may not know where to begin. Here are some questions to help you start a conversation with your doctor. Remember, you’re not alone in caring for your loved one. Call on Arden Courts to help you find the answers you need.
1. How is Lewy body dementia different from Alzheimer’s?
Lewy body dementia and Alzheimer’s symptoms are similar. But with LBD, there are other physical and mental changes, including:
- Sleep disturbances
- Muscle rigidity
LBD is sometimes used to describe the dementia brought on by Parkinson’s and the dementia caused by Lewy bodies (abnormal proteins that gather in nerve cells). Ask your doctor if your loved one’s dementia could be related to Parkinson’s. Understanding the potential relationship between LBD and Parkinson’s will guide your decisions about care.
2. How can you be sure it’s Lewy body dementia?
Diagnosing LBD can be a long and complicated process. Yet it’s essential to determine if your loved one’s dementia is triggered by LBD because Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s medications are not always helpful for people with LBD.
Be sure to talk to your doctor about what tests can determine if it is LBD. Good diagnosis approaches include:
- Review of medical history
- Physical exam
- Neurological testing
- Patient and family interviews
- Language skills testing
- CT or MRI scans
If you still have questions about the diagnosis, you may want to get a second opinion from a neurologist.
3. Does Lewy body dementia hurt?
Overall, a loved one living with LBD will not be in pain. However, in the late stages of the disease, muscle rigidity may make touch and movement painful. Ask your doctor about how LBD could progress, and how you might make your loved one more comfortable.
4. How is Lewy body dementia treated?
LBD symptoms are different for everyone, so care plans must be customized. Memory and cognitive symptoms may be treated with medicine. Occupational or speech therapy may help with the physical symptoms of LBD. Talk to your doctor about which options are right for your loved one.
Support groups for caregivers and families can also be helpful. You need to take care of yourself as you’re caring for your loved one.
5. Can memory loss be corrected?
Memory loss can’t be reversed, but structured programs for people with dementia can stimulate the brain in positive ways. Arden Courts offers engagement programs for all levels of dementia. We work with residents to create experiences based on their comfort and routines. Ask your care team about engagement programs and how you can help your loved one exercise his or her mental abilities.
Call on us
We offer support, education and information for caregivers and family members. To learn more about Lewy body dementia and the types of care available, contact the Arden Courts near you.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, learn how an Arden Courts Memory Care Community can help in our case study.