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Lewy Body Dementia 

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Catégorie : Dementia   Alzheimer  
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Lewy Body Dementia 

You have probably already heard about Alzheimer’s disease. It is indeed the most common neurodegenerative disease. But do you know about Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) ? This dementia is perhaps less known but it is nevertheless the second most frequent neurocognitive disorder, just after Alzheimer’s disease.  Lewy body disease affects the brain and presents with multiple different symptoms. Patients affected by this disorder can have problems with movement, thinking, memory and behavior. Let’s find out more about Lewy body dementia and how it can affect the daily lives of seniors suffering from the disease and the possible impact on their families.

What is Lewy body dementia (LBD) ?

Like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases, Lewy body dementia is considered a neurodegenerative disease. This condition affects various parts of the brain and can lead to both cognitive and physical problems. 

But what is a “Lewy body” ?

⇒ Basically, it is described as abnormal deposits of a protein in some areas of the brain. The protein, called alpha-synucleine, accumulates in neuronal cells to form lewy bodies.  They then affect chemical messages in the brain and cause the onset of various symptoms. In addition to being present in Lewy body dementia, the same deposits can also be found in people with Parkinson’s disease.

To date, little is known about the risk factors of Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). However, many experts agree on some observations : 

  • Correlation is made between LBD and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases ;
  • Men seem to be slightly more affected than women ;
  • This dementia mainly affects people aged 50 and over ;
  • Family history of Lewy body dementia may play some role in the development of this disorder which is however not considered a genetic disease.

 Contact an advisor for a free consultation

What are the main symptoms of Lewy body dementia?

Even if it is true that there are many similarities between Lewy body dementia (LBD) and other neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson or Alzheimer, few symptoms are more consistent with this cognitive disorder.

  • Loss of functional autonomy ;
  • Common presence of visual hallucinations;
  • The development of movement disorders similar to Parkinson’s disease ;
  • Many other cognitive disorders that can be unpredictable.

The primary symptoms of LBD : the onset of cognitive disorders

Cognitive impairment is one of the first things that can be noticed among patients with Lewy body dementia. Memory loss, confusion, attention deficit disorders and difficulties with language are among the frequent examples of symptoms in people with Lewy body dementia

  • In opposition to Alzheimer’s disease, memory issues may not appear until later in the course of LBD
  • Attention deficit disorders and difficulties in keeping focus are common symptoms of this degenerative disease. These signs can fluctuate from day to day and are difficult to predict. All these changes may have an influence on the daily life of seniors and also their families.
  • Frequently, visuospatial abilities are diminished with the progression of the disease. People with Lewy body dementia often have difficulty well perceiving their environment

Development of movement problems

The motor symptoms that develop in patients with Lewy body dementia are very similar to those present in people with Parkinson’s disease. 

Also called parkinsonian motor symptoms, movement disorders can appear as :

  1. tremors (both at rest and in action) ;
  2. muscle stiffness and rigidity ;
  3. and slower movements.

Most of the time, movement disorders are mild at first but are likely to increase as the disease progresses. In such cases, certain limitations on the person’s daily activities may develop : 

  • difficulties to walk / shuffling gait ;
  • balance issues and tendency to fall ;
  • change in the posture (bent forward or stooped position) ;
  • muscular rigidity which can even reduce facial expressions ;
  • difficulty getting up from a sitting position ;
  • shaking and tremors making dexterity tasks more complex. 

⇒ You would like to learn more about parkinsonism ? You may be interested in our article about Parkinson’s disease and how to help seniors with this condition. 

Psychological disorders, mood and behavior problems

Seniors who are diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia unfortunately have frequent behavioral and mood problems. For some, these symptoms appear at the onset of the disease. For others, they only develop later.

These psychological disorders can be expressed in different ways. 

  • Common psychological symptoms are visual hallucinations. These problems unfortunately tend to appear early in the course of the disease.
  • Depression and anxiety are also frequent. 
  • The psychotic symptoms associated with this neurodegenerative disease can lead to delusions and even some episodes of paranoia.

It is essential not to neglect any of these changes and to make sure to offer the person all the resources to help.

 Contact an advisor for a free consultation

How is the diagnosis of Lewy body dementia made ?

Are you concerned about Lewy body dementia? Have you noticed some symptoms consistent with this cognitive disorder in an elderly loved one? In such cases, it is important to talk to your family physician. Diagnosis must be made by a medical doctor. Specialized physicians such as a neurologist or a psychiatrist may be involved in the evaluation to find the right diagnosis.

The diagnosis of this neurodegenerative disease is based mainly on symptoms and other clinical observations. Neurological and physical examination will be made by the doctor.  Medical imaging such as an MRI or a CT scan can lead the specialist to the right diagnosis.  

⇒ An elderly relative has just been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia and you don’t know how to react? Our Visavie counselors are here to help you through this process. Do not hesitate to contact a counselor in your area to benefit from caring advice and experience.

What are the treatments for Lewy body dementia ?

Unfortunately, there is no curative treatment at this time. However, there are solutions to help control some of the symptoms of this neurodegenerative disease. 

  • Alzheimer’s disease medications are used to control some of the cognitive symptoms. They can help with memory and even reduce hallucinations.
  • Parkinson’s disease medication is helpful to reduce parkinsonian symptoms such as tremor and stiffness.
  • Antipsychotics may also be prescribed by the physician for the treatment of delusions and hallucinations, for example. However, they should be used with caution as some of these drugs may amplify the symptoms.

All of these treatments require a prescription from the doctor. Our recommendation is to take the time to talk about this with the health care professional of your elderly relative. This way, it will be possible to choose what is most relevant for the well-being of the person.

What is the best way to help a senior with Lewy body dementia ?

Medical treatments and medications can help control this cognitive disorder.  Assistive care, however, is just as important as it contributes to help elderly people with Lewy body dementia in their daily life

Home care adapted to the needs of seniors

Do you know someone close to you who is affected by Lewy body dementia ? You wonder how you could help ? Good home care services may be the best solution for this elderly relative. 

When it is still possible, many seniors prefer to have the choice to continue living at home. Obviously, the severity of the symptoms and the stage of progression of the disease will influence this decision. Seniors who choose to stay at home will need assistance from dedicated caregivers to help them in their daily lives. This is why home care is extremely important. The home of the seniors may also need to be adapted and we have some tips to share if you are interested.

⇒ In order to properly support your elderly parents, you can count on our team at Visavie to help. We’ll take the time to assist you to find the best home care services for your loved one. 

The search for a seniors’ residence specialized for cognitive disorders

Sometimes, the best solution for the well-being of the person suffering from Lewy body dementia is to find a specialized place that can provide the right environment and  necessary care right on site. In the province of Quebec, we are fortunate enough to have some seniors’ residences that are specially adapted for older adults with various cognitive disorders. 

When the progression of Lewy body dementia causes your elderly loved one to slowly lose  autonomy, it is possible that the best thing for that person is to move to a seniors’ residence adapted to his needs.

Moving to a seniors’ residence is an important step. Our Visavie housing counsellors are present to help you make this transition easier with personalized assistance. 

Being diagnosed with Lewy body dementia is certainly not easy, neither for the person with the disease nor for the immediate family. Senior’s autonomy may be diminished due to symptoms such as hallucinations, development of motor disorders and behavioral changes. However, we believe that offering the right support can help seniors and their relatives to better face this neurodegenerative disorder. At Visavie, our mission is to accompany seniors and their families with respect and dignity

⇒ For customized home care or to take advantage of the assistance of our valuable counselors, feel free to contact Visavie anytime. We are available all day and everyday to help you.





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