Dementia Types

Lewy Body Dementia

Overview

Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), is estimated to effect approximately 1.4 million Americans. LBD includes patients from both dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease dementia diagnoses. People with LBD often experience the same symptoms as Alzheimer’s patients, in addition to sleep disturbances, visual hallucinations, muscle rigidity or other Parkinsonism physical and cognitive impairments.

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Common Warning Signs

  • Memory loss
  • Trouble planning or problem solving
  • Difficulty completing normal tasks
  • Confusion
  • Frequent falls
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty understanding spatial relationships
  • Trouble with words or speaking
  • Poor judgment
  • Changes in mood or personality
  • Hallucinations
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Tremors

What Is Lewy Body Dementia?

Lewy body dementia (LBD) is caused by abnormal protein deposits that disrupt the brain’s normal functioning. The proteins found in the brain stem deplete dopamine levels, causing Parkinson’s-like symptoms. LBD symptoms include problems with memory, perception, thinking and behavior. Symptoms of LBD vary from person to person, and may fluctuate at any moment, or any day. LBD greatly impacts a person’s daily life and ability to function independently. There is no cure for LBD, but treatment for symptoms is available to improve a person’s quality of life. 

Diagnosing of LBD is based on a physician’s judgment after a complete medical assessment including a thorough medical history, mental status testing and physical and neurological exams. A LBD diagnosis may be made when dementia symptoms consistent with LBD develop prior to movement symptoms, when both dementia symptoms and movement symptoms are present or when dementia symptoms develop within a year of movement symptoms.

What Should I Expect As A Caregiver?

For caregivers, understanding common behavior changes of persons living with LBD is important. A person with LBD may need help with planning their day and remembering appointments or even simple tasks like dressing and bathing. As the disease progresses, a person with LBD may become frustrated, anxious or embarrassed by their cognitive decline. A caregiver may need to provide emotional and physical support, as well as encouragement. Individuals with LBD may become restless, experience rapid mood swings, or wander. Knowing how to balance a person’s safety and independence becomes more difficult as the disease progresses.

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Risk Factors

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Age

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Family History

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Being Male

Case Study

Dementia with Lewy Bodies

Our Resident's Story

Roger lived a physically active and adventure-filled life. Even after retirement, he would rock climb and embark on long hikes. Then, Roger’s family started to notice a slight decline. Roger no longer felt comfortable going to his favorite park, choosing instead to walk around his neighborhood block. Learn more below about how our programming helped Roger.

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Individual Pursuits

When he moved into Arden Courts, Roger still wanted to go on long walks. The walking paths at Arden Courts were easily accessible to Roger and led back to a safe entry. Even in the winter, Roger would bundle up in a hat, coat and gloves and head outdoors.

Engagement Therapy

As Roger’s disease progressed, his vision became impaired. Arden Courts staff provided him with large print books so he could continue to read. He enjoyed programs on the National Parks, travel and American heroes, even though it took him longer to examine the pictures and artifacts. He enjoyed sharing his experiences with traveling and exploring.

Lifestyle Programming

Roger is an outgoing fellow, but his disease has made it difficult for him to maintain friendships. To help him feel a part of the group, his family provided slide shows of his travels. Arden Courts staff shares these with the group and Roger sometimes suggests refreshments to compliment the program. He also enjoys music programs and can still dance.

Namaste Care

Namaste Care is a wonderful alternative when Roger feels overwhelmed by the bustle and noise of large group activities. Staff meet his sensory needs in Namaste with music, the scent of flowers, and lots of touch and quiet conversation. Roger also enjoys looking at a specially-made scrapbook that highlights his favorite walks and climbs.

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