What Are the Early Signs of Lewy Body Dementia?

As seniors get older, there may be noticeable changes in their memory, behavior, and personality. When this happens, family members often assume their loved one has developed Alzheimer’s. 

While Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease. It’s frequently misdiagnosed. 

It may be challenging to diagnose Lewy Body Dementia early, but learning the signs and symptoms can help. When seniors are diagnosed early, you and your family can develop a care plan and help them receive proper treatment. 

The holiday season will give you opportunities to keep an eye on your senior loved one. If you notice they are having a more difficult time communicating, moving around, or having behavioral shifts, reach out to their physician for an examination.

The Causes of Lewy Body Dementia

The exact cause of Lewy Body Dementia is unknown, which is why scientists continue to research and learn about the progressive disease. 

Scientists know that when the protein alpha-synuclein clumps together in the brain, it slowly damages brain cells. Over time, it affects a senior’s ability to reason, think and move. 

These microscopic proteins are also known as Lewy bodies and cause a senior to develop dementia or Parkinson’s disease dementia. 

While living a healthier lifestyle may help with memory loss and memory diseases, Lewy Body Dementia is not typically caused by genetics or lifestyle factors. The most significant risk factor is one that a person cannot change — aging. 

What Makes Lewy Body Dementia Unique?

While many symptoms between Alzheimer’s and Lewy Body Dementia overlap, the development and severity are one of their key differences. 

Seniors with LBD will have memory loss, but it won’t be as severe as those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. With LBD, movement symptoms are more common and evident, especially in the early stages. 

Brain scans can only show scientists so much, so they must rely on observable symptoms.

What are the Early Signs and Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia?

LBD affects adults 50 and older. At first, in the early stage of the disease, symptoms may appear to be mild. As time goes on, symptoms will worsen and become more noticeable. 

If you can recognize symptoms early on, your senior loved one will be able to receive treatment sooner, which can offer you peace of mind and help them live a more fulfilled life. It’s recommended to consider assisted living or a memory care community in the early stages, when it’s much easier to make that transition. 

Signs to look for in your senior loved one include: 

  • Changes in alertness
  • Changes in focus
  • Behavior and mood swings
  • Changes in handwriting 
  • Dizziness 
  • Frequent falls
  • Muscle stiffness and rigidity
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Sleep issues
    • Insomnia
    • Sleepwalking
    • Vivid dreams
  • Reduced coordination and balance issues
  • Hallucinations, paranoia, or distortions of reality

Signs it’s Time to Transition a Senior to Memory Care

When your senior loved one’s symptoms become too difficult for you and other family members to manage, it may be time to move your loved one to a memory care community. 

As a caregiver, you will have responsibilities of your own, such as providing for your children and working. Seniors with Lewy Body Dementia will eventually need around-the-clock care, medical assistance, and equipment. While it is noble to want your loved one to age in the comfort of their homes, it will not always be the safest option.

Transitioning your loved one to a community setting can be difficult, especially if you are the child or spouse. But, if you look at the benefits and what memory care communities with high level care offer, you will feel more comfortable with this decision. 

Communities such as The Kensington White Plains provide expert memory care and are equipped to properly care for your senior loved one with Lewy Body Dementia. 

What High Acuity Care Looks Like

Often, seniors with LBD need a higher level of assistance than seniors with early Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Since LBD creates movement issues, mobility is often a struggle.

With our commitment to high level compassion and care, we can assist your senior loved one with the following:

  • Pureed diets and specialty diets
  • Feeding tubes, IVS and catheters
  • Wound care
  • Insulin injections
  • Memory care
  • Assistance due to movement disorders
  • Assistance with colostomy and ileostomy conditions

How The Kensington White Plains Can Support Your Loved One

The Kensington White Plains is an enhanced assisted living and memory care community that provides senior residents with high acuity care. This means that we have the capacity to care for your loved one, no matter how their disease progresses. 

When the early signs of Lewy Body Dementia arise in your loved one, we will continue to be there for you as LBD progresses. 

The needs of memory care residents are constantly changing, which is why our compassionate and highly trained staff are there to listen, support, and comfort your senior loved one. 

Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own. 

With our two cozy and safe memory care neighborhoods designed for different levels of memory loss, we can assist and help your loved one no matter what stage of dementia they are in. Contact us to learn more about our rehabilitation, psychological and psychiatric services, life-enrichment activities, exceptional dining services that guarantee proper nutrition, and other amenities.

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