Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a common kind of dementia, second only in prevalence only to Alzheimer’s disease. Though it is common, many family caregivers know little, if anything, about the disease when they learn an older family member has been diagnosed with it.
An Overview of LBD
LBD is characterized by protein clusters that develop in the older adult’s brain. These protein clusters are called Lewy bodies. Lewy bodies form in nerve cells in parts of the brain that are responsible for memory and thinking. The damage caused by the disease is progressive, which means the senior’s cognitive abilities will decline over time.
The protein that is involved in LBD is the same kind that appears in people who have Parkinson’s disease. As a result, people with LBD have some of the same physical symptoms that appear with Parkinson’s.
What causes a person’s brain to develop Lewy bodies isn’t entirely clear. However, doctors have identified some things that make the chances of getting LBD higher, such as:
- Older Age: LBD most commonly occurs in people who are over the age of 60.
- Gender: Men get LBD more often than women.
- Family History: Seniors who have a close relative with Parkinson’s or LBD are at a higher risk.
LBD symptoms are not the same in all people. However, some of the common symptoms of LBD include:
- Hallucinations: Among the first symptoms of LBD are visual hallucinations, which means the senior sees things that aren’t really there. Other kinds of hallucinations are also possible, such as hearing things, feeling things, or smelling things that aren’t real.
- Movement Problems: People with LBD have some of the same physical symptoms as people with Parkinson’s disease, such as rigid muscles, tremors, and a shuffling gait. These symptoms make it more likely that the senior will fall.
- Cognitive Issues: The cognitive problems caused by LBD are similar to those caused by Alzheimer’s disease. The senior may be confused, have memory loss, and have trouble paying attention. Symptoms of confusion and alertness can vary from one day to the next or even from one hour to the next.
- Depression and Apathy: Seniors with LBD may become depressed or lose interest in doing things they once enjoyed.
If your older family member has been diagnosed with LBD, elder care can assist them in their home, allowing them to live there longer. Elder care providers can see to the senior’s safety, ensuring they don’t make unsafe decisions. Elder care providers are also skilled at keeping older adults comfortable by helping them with things like preparing and eating meals, changing clothes, bathing, and engaging in activities that prevent boredom. In addition, an elder care provider can be an excellent source of support to your aging relative, helping them to feel more secure as their health declines.
If you or an aging loved one is considering elder care in Broad View, MT, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare Billings today at 406-839-2390.