What is Dementia with Lewy Body (DLB)?
Dementia with Lewy Body happens when abnormal structures, called Lewy bodies, build up in certain areas of the brain. There are important distinctions to note in the difference between Alzheimer’s and DLB. Alzheimer's affects the brain's ability to store new information in the form of memories, while Lewy body dementia targets a different set of cognitive functions - specifically problem-solving and reasoning.
It can include both Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) in which Parkinson’s disease is first diagnosed and symptoms of LBD appear later) and Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) which starts with dementia and is often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease, but may include Parkinson-like symptoms at the time of diagnosis or later. Over time, people with dementia with Lewy bodies or Parkinson's disease dementia may develop similar symptoms.
Symptoms: LBD includes visual hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, tremors or shaking, apathy, quick changes in mood, and frequent variations in cognitive ability, attention or alertness. There are also changes in walking or movement, as well as a sleep disorder called REM sleep behavior disorder, in which people physically act out their dreams. *LBD patients may also have a severe sensitivity to medications prescribed for hallucinations.
LBD affect not only the individual diagnosed with the illness, but also caregivers, families, and friends. The Life Care Manager can help families overcome these challenges.
How can a Life Care Manager help?
A Life Care Manager, licensed as a professional, can help people with dementia:
- get the correct diagnosis
- develop a support system to prepare and plan for the future
- encourage the person with Lewy Body Dementia to take an active role in their care
- customize a plan of care to meet the individual’s needs.
- determine meaningful activities that can reduce anxiety and improve wellbeing
- maximize insurance coverage for physical and occupational therapy to help with movement problems and continue independence with activities of daily living.
- speech therapy may help with voice projection and swallowing difficulties
- assist the family and care providers on ways to communicate with people with dementia
- assure a safe environment thru modifications and support
- improve the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease
- provide counseling to cope and manage changes in behavior
- offer recommendations when driving becomes a concern
- monitor money management and financial safety
- recommend methods that work when the person will not accept help
Holistic Aging Life Care Managers have cared for many clients with Lewy Body Dementia and know the best strategies and resources available in Pittsburgh. We ensure that proper care is provided whether in the home or customized facility setting. As a Life Care Manager, our goals are to ensure that a patient may function at the highest level of independence, in the least restrictive living environment as long as possible, while recognizing changes and modifications to the plan of may need to be made along the way.
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