The Whitworths of Arizona, bringing science to you in everyday language.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Non-drug Therapies for LBD

The difficulty with drugs used by modern medicine to treat LBD’s most bothersome symptoms makes it common sense to search for another form of treatment. And there are many types of non-drug therapies, some more effective than others, but all worth a try.

When working with a progressive disorder like LBD, learning to use and maintain still present abilities well is the goal. While this will not improve the basic ability, it often does result in improvements, as when a person can move more easily after physical therapy.

Used early in the journey, these therapies can delay the appearance of dementia and other LBD symptoms. Used later, after LBD is present, these same therapies continue to work their magic, decreasing the severity of symptom and the acting-out that often follows.

Whichever combination of the therapies below you choose, their function is to help make the journey with LBD less stressful and your lives more enjoyable and fulfilling. Used regularly, they can definitely improve quality of life for loved one and caregiver as well. However, they are not cures. Learn to judge a therapy’s success by how much your loved one maintains their status quo, not by how much they improve.

Physical therapy is familiar to most people with PD. While its primary purpose is to improve movement, any kind of physical exercise helps to maintain cognitive abilities as well.

Occupational therapy focuses on helping a person retain their daily living skills and maintain an active life.

Speech therapy helps a person improve their ability to speak and swallow.  This can help in addition to the suggestions in our 12/28/12 blog.

Music therapy touches senses and emotions and can sometimes reach a person when nothing else will. Other therapies and activities often include music. See our 5/2/13 blog.

Psychological counseling is valuable in helping individuals, couples and families deal with the losses and changes involved with a LBD diagnosis.

Spiritual therapy is the conscious inclusion of your own spiritual and religious beliefs in your lifestyle and in other therapies. Don’t overlook the support it provides.

Aromatherapy relies on the sense of smell and can be helpful with the Alzheimer’s patient but sadly, isn’t as useful when Lewy bodies are involved. They tend to destroy one’s sense of smell and make this type of therapy ineffective—except for the care partner, who may find it quite soothing.

Pet therapy is the use of pets to decrease stress and add comfort, support and safety. See our 4/27/12 blog.

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