Touching Hearts at Home is pleased to welcome Carlye Wilson as our new Administrative Assistant!
Senior Care for those Afflicted with Lewy Body Dementia
The medical community uses the term dementia to describe a general “decline of mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.” For many, hearing the word dementia brings thoughts of its most common form, Alzheimer’s Disease, which accounts for 60-80% of all dementia related cases. There are, however, less commonly known forms of dementia that are just as important for those providing home care to be aware. One of them is Lewy Body Dementia.
What is Lewy Body Dementia?
Lewy Body Dementia, also known as dementia with Lewy bodies or LBD, is the second only to Alzheimer’s disease accounting for 4-16% of the number of diagnosed cases of dementia. It is a progressive brain disease where abnormal amounts of protein deposits build in areas of the brain that govern behavior and thinking, movement, and mood. The Cleveland Clinic estimates as many as 1.4 million Americans are living with LBD, with men being slightly more at risk for developing the disorder than women.
Potential LBD related symptoms for seniors
While Lewy Body Dementia is not uncommon in seniors, many doctors and healthcare professionals are not as familiar with LBD as more common forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s. Therefore, it is important for those providing home care for loved ones be familiar with signs of the disease.
Symptoms can be grouped into five categories:
Cognitive abilities: Problems with thinking include confusion, a decline in attention span, memory loss, and visual-spatial difficulties. Hallucinations are one of the first symptoms of the disease.
Motor skills: Seniors afflicted with LBD can develop Parkinson’s disease with symptoms such as slowing movement, tremors, and shuffled walking.
Sleep Disorders: Caregivers may witness their sleeping elders physically act out dreams. This can be dangerous and lead to injuries.
Behavioral and mood changes: Seniors may experience bouts of depression and apathy a result of LBD.
Decline in body regulation: Processes automatically regulated by the body such as blood pressure, sweating, and digestion begin to deteriorate leading to dizziness, de-hydration, and constipation.
Caring for elders with LBD
Once diagnosed with LBD, doctors will recommend the proper balance of medicines and treatments, however home care providers will still need to manage the symptoms of Lewy Body at home.
Here are five tips for caring for a senior with LBD:
Speak clearly: Clarity in directions, expectations, and volume will lessen the potential for misunderstandings between caregivers and aging seniors with LBD.
Show empathy: With the understanding that cognitive and behavioral changes are a part of LBD, caregivers will need to tolerate some behaviors. These behaviors are not intentional and accepting their presence will help seniors work through them.
Modify the environment: Visual-spatial problems, as well as sleep disorders can lead to movements of which seniors are not aware. Caregivers should be sure to remove any trip hazards and provide enough open space for seniors to manage any episodes.
Routinize the day: As mental capacities decline, it is important to create day and night time routines for seniors from which they can refer to throughout this process.
Provide mind stimulation: Activities such as cross word puzzles and word searches encourage elder minds to remain active, helping combat the effects of LBD.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Care Services in Columbia TN, please contact the caring staff at Touching Hearts at Home. Serving Middle Tennessee (Nashville, Brentwood, Bell Meade, Franklin, Spring Hill, Columbia, Pulaski, and more!) Call today: 629-203-7925.
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