Lewy body dementia (LBD) is the second most commonly diagnosed form of dementia.
The first is Alzheimer’s disease. LBD is a progressive disease that cannot be cured. It causes the older adult’s mental abilities to worsen over time. It differs from Alzheimer’s disease in that it causes a specific kind of protein deposit, called a Lewy body, to develop in the brain.
People with LBD experience many of the same cognitive changes that people with Alzheimer’s do, like memory problems and hallucinations. However, they also have symptoms similar to the motor symptoms found in Parkinson’s disease, like muscle rigidity, tremors, and slowed movement. Because the disease is progressive, it can be helpful for family caregivers to older adults with LBD to know what the stages of progression are, so they can plan for future care. Below are the stages of LBD.
During the early stage of LBD, your aging relative may experience hallucinations or delusions. They may also have sleep problems that cause them to act out their dreams while they are sleeping. They might also have movement issues, such as freezing when they are walking. Memory is largely unaffected, but the senior may have some confusion and other cognitive changes.
In the middle stages of LBD, the symptoms look more like those of Parkinson’s disease. The person’s movement will be more severely affected, and they may fall more often. They might also have trouble with speech and swallowing. Cognitive decline worsens as well. The older adult may have more trouble with paying attention and be confused more often.
During this stage, muscles become very rigid. The older adult may also be sensitive to being touched. They will need help with nearly all aspects of daily life. They may be unable to speak or may speak in a whisper. People with late-stage LBD get pneumonia and other kinds of infections easily, which is often the cause of death.
If your aging relative has been diagnosed with LBD, it’s important to involve elderly care early on. Having an elderly care provider can allow the older adult to remain in their own home longer. Elderly care providers can start by coming just a few hours per week to help with things like cooking, cleaning, and running errands. As the older adult’s needs change, the way that elderly care is used can change, too. Elderly care providers can come more often and can begin helping with things like personal care and keeping the older adult safe.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Senior Care in Newport Beach, CA, please contact the caring staff at Canaan Home Care today!