Be sensitive to the emotional and psychological impacts that dementia can have on you and your family. If left unaddressed, these things can have devastating physical consequences for you and your Loved One. They may determine how gentle the journey is for all of you. The diagnosis is likely to magnify any pre-illness emotional and interpersonal issues. Therefore, it is important to clearly identify those and learn how to manage them better. Doing this could provide significantly better outcomes for everyone. Consider including a counselor as a member of your health care team to help you address communication issues that need attention, relationship dynamics, and any pre-illness issues that can affect how you manage the symptoms of LBD, forgiveness of past hurts, and grief issues.
A second element of being perceptive is to be sensitive to your Loved One’s symptoms. You see him every day, unlike doctors who see him only for a short time during office visits. You need to observe and record changes in physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms. Report these changes to the dementia specialist and work together to find solutions. Dementia patients may practice “Showtime” behaviors at doctor appointments, which make them seem to be much better than they are on a daily basis at home. Your report to the doctor keeps the information balanced, honest, and accurate. Sometimes changes in medicine can bring about an improvement of symptoms. At other times, non-drug choices can address these issues.
The third element of being perceptive is to identify the specific triggers that affect your Loved One’s experience of LBD in a negative way. This is where many non-drug interventions can have huge positive impacts on living daily with dementia.
Examples of simple changes with big impacts may be:
- Softening the light in the room
- Using oils like lavender to calm agitation
- Playing favorite music
- Having only one person speak at a time while in the room
- Explaining what you are about to do before you begin to do it
Helen and James Whitworth are not doctors, lawyers or social workers nor is Pat Snyder. As informed caregivers, they share the information here for educational purposes only. It should never be used instead of a professional's advice.
We love and welcome comments but we will not publish any that advertise a product or a commercial website. This is especially true for testimonials about miraculous Parkinson's cures and marijuana.
AD: Alzheimer's disease
BPSD: Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia
DLB: Dementia with Lewy bodies, where cognitive/behavioral issues occur first
LBD: Lewy body dementia, an umbrella term for both DLB and PDD
MCI: Mild cognitive impairment
MCI-LB: the form of MCI that precedes LBD
PD: Parkinson's disease
PDD: Parkinson's disease with dementia, where mobility issues occur first
For more information about Lewy body disorders, read our books:
A Caregivers’ Guide to Lewy Body Dementia
Managing Cognitive Issues in Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia