Tip Sheet: Lewy Body Dementia
Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is the 2nd (or 3rd) most prevalent progressive dementia.
LBD: Three Major Signs
- Hallucinations, typically visual (images)
- Fluctuating (on/off): attention and cognition (thinking & memory abilities)
- Parkinsonisms: changes in movement such as slow, stiff movements, shuffle walking, falls, less face expression, restless leg syndrome (during sleep)
CAUTION: antipsychotic medicine to treat hallucinations or sleep problems may lead to extreme behaviors, opposite to the expected result
- Learn about LBD and plan ahead (see Checklist on Family Matters).
- Anticholinesterase (prescription) medicine: aricept, exelon, or razadyne.
- Accept (do not treat) safe hallucinations; deal with setting or distract person to defuse unsafe hallucinations (medicine is a last resort).
- Daily exercise; physical therapy evaluation and tips for daily exercise.
- Occupational therapy (OT) tips and OT evaluation of home setting.
- Allow 15 seconds or more for the “slow” person to answer, respond, move or start an activity.
- Caregivers must care routinely for themselves. Help from others and respite are essential.
- KISSSSS: keep it short, sweet, simple, safe; same (routine).
Information & Resources: some web sites & toll free phone numbers:
Alzheimer’s Association (USA): www.alz.org or www.alzheimers.com (800) 272-3900
Alzheimer Society of Canada: www.alzheimer.ca
Alzheimer’s Society (United Kingdom): www.alzheimers.org.uk
AlzOnline (at University of Florida): alzonline.phhp.ufl.edu
American Academy of Neurology: www.aan.com; www.thebrainmatters.org
Family Caregiver Alliance: www.caregiver.org; (800) 445-8106
Helpguide, Aging Issues: www.helpguide.org/elder/lewy_body_disease.htm
Lewy Body Dementia Association, Inc.: www.lewybodydementia.org
Lewy Body Journal (a family’s personal story): www.lewybodyjournal.org
Los Angeles Caregiver Resource Center: http://geroweb.usc.edu/lacrc; (800) 540-4442
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders
Prepared by: Leilani Doty, PhD, Administrator, Florida Department of Elder Affairs, Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative, University of Florida Memory Disorder Clinic (MDC),Box 100236, McKnight Brain Institute, Gainesville, FL 32610-0236, Office (352)273-5555; MDC Appointments: (352)265-8408 (2006)