Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a progressive condition that affects cognitive abilities. It is second only to Alzheimer’s disease in the number of cases of progressive dementia, but it is still a condition many people know very little about. LBD is sometimes mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease because they do have some common symptoms. However, according to the Lewy Body Dementia Association, there are some key differences between the two, such as the Lewy bodies (clusters of protein) that form in the brain. Knowing some of the signs of LBD can help family members to spot the disease in their aging relative and get them help sooner. Below are 5 signs that may indicate LBD in an older adult.
#1: Parkinson’s-Like Movement Problems
People with LBD often exhibit some of the same movement symptoms as people with Parkinson’s disease, such as rigidity, slowed movement, and tremors. However, the disease differs from Parkinson’s because people with Parkinson’s don’t usually have the cognitive problems in the early stages that people with LBD do.
One of the first signs of LBD is often visual hallucinations. Hallucinations are when the older adult sees something that is not there. They may see people, animals, or shapes that don’t exist. While visual hallucinations are the most common kind of hallucinations experienced by people with LBD, they may also hear, smell, or feel things that aren’t there.
#3: Sleep Disorders
LBD can cause problems with REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. They may act out their dreams while they are having them. This symptom is often a very early sign of the disease, occurring years before any cognitive or movement problems become apparent. In addition to REM sleep disorder, people with LBD may also experience restless leg syndrome, feeling sleepy during the day, and insomnia.
#4: Autonomic Nervous System Problems
LBD can cause problems with the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary problems. They may have poorly regulated blood pressure, sweat easily, or have an irregular pulse. LBD can also affect the digestive system, causing problems like constipation.
#5: Cognitive Issues
LBD also causes cognitive symptoms similar to those caused by Alzheimer’s disease. The older adult may have trouble with memory, confusion, an inability to pay attention, and visual-spatial problems.
People with LBD eventually require constant care, so if your aging relative has been diagnosed with the disease, home care can help. Home care providers can assist with daily care tasks, such as dressing, bathing, eating, and toileting. They can also help to keep the senior’s environment safe and clean. Home care providers can even cook meals and help your loved one to engage in activities to prevent boredom.
If you or an aging loved one are considering homecare in Dulles, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.
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