Everything you need to know about Lewy body dementia to provide care.
Practical tools to help you learn about this little-known disease, address some of its day-to-day challenges and find support and resources.
Lewy body dementia is the second most common neurodegenerative dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. The disease usually appears after the age of 60 and progresses rapidly.
It is characterized by the formation of deposits and abnormal residues inside the brain cells. Abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein causes the disease.
Symptoms may be similar to those of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease:
Visual hallucinations are specific to Lewy body dementia. They may worsen during periods of confusion and become more specific and detailed over time.
Currently, there is no cure for LBD. The medications that are prescribed to people with Lewy body dementia treat the symptoms caused by brain cell loss.
The doctor mentions “cognitive problems,” what exactly is this?
Lewy body disease is one of approximately 250 cognitive disorders. Amnesia, dementia, delirium, cerebrovascular disease, mixed cognitive disorders and frontotemporal degeneration also fall into this category. “Cognitive impairment” is a generic term that encompasses a variety of symptoms: issues with memory and perception, difficulty thinking, problem solving, and significant changes in mood and behaviour.
We have heard about senile dementia of Lewy body type. Is this the same illness as Lewy body dementia?
Yes, depending on the source, the term “cortical Lewy body disease” or “variant Lewy body disease” may be used. The Alzheimer Society refers to “Lewy body disease,” while Parkinson Canada refers to “diffuse Lewy body disease.” So many names for the same difficult reality, for both you and the person you are caring for.
There are parallels with Alzheimer’s disease. Can we follow the same practical advice for people with Lewy body disease?
Some symptoms are similar to those of Alzheimer’s disease. The challenges and needs of the caregiver are similar: communication, interactions, activities, sexuality, safety in the home, ambiguous loss and grief.
However, the symptoms of visual hallucinations are specific. This requires support and resources adapted to the person with the disorder as well as to the caregiver, even if the disorder is still little known. Caregivers have no choice but to turn to available telephone helplines, resources and referrals.
Association québécoise des neuropsychologue. Démence à corps de Lewy.
Chaîne Youtube de L'Appui pour les proches aidants. Le balado des proches aidants épisode 8 avec Ghislaine Bourque.
Chaîne Youtube du Centre d’excellence sur le vieillissement de Québec. La maladie à Corps de Lewy, du diagnostic à la demande de services.
Institut canadien d'information sur la santé. La démence au Canada.
L'Appui pour les proches aidants. 8 suggestions de livres pour prendre soin de vous.
Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux. Alzheimer et autres troubles neurocognitifs majeurs.
Société Alzheimer Canada. La maladie à corps de Lewy.
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