One of the most common types of dementia, Lewy Body Dementia causes problems with thinking, movement, behavior and mood.
There are two types of Lewy Body dementia:
1. Dementia with Lewy Bodies. This is when people FIRST have a decline in cognition, then, within a year, develop movement problems.
2. Parkinson’s Disease Dementia. This is when people FIRST show symptoms of a movement disorder, then, after a year or more, cognitive symptoms arise.
After the first year, the symptoms of the two types look very similar.
How should you respond to a person’s hallucinations or delusions? Tune in to the person’s emotions. Determine whether the hallucinations are upsetting for the person, or not.
If the hallucination or delusion causes no danger or upset for the person, there is no need to do anything except validate the person’s perception or belief, i.e. “Huh. That’s interesting.”
If the hallucination is upsetting, respond to the emotion expressed: “I can see why you’re upset.” Agree, sympathize, and validate BEFORE offering reassurance, i.e., “Of course you’re annoyed by all those little people running around. But I’ve got the situation under control.” You can offer the person empathy and concern: “I’d feel that way too, if that was going on in my room. Let’s go for a walk, they’ll go home soon.” Then, clearly and firmly, give the “little people” some direction, i.e., “Okay, kids, you’ve got ten minutes to get out of here.”
A variety of professionals can help manage the person’s disease. Medication may be helpful in some situations. Therapists (physical, speech, and occupational) can help with movement issues, swallowing and vocal problems, and can help to identify ways daily activities can be made easier for the person. Palliative Care Specialists can help manage constipation, sleep disorders and behavior problems.
If you are the primary caregiver for someone with Lewy Body dementia, make sure you have a team of professionals in place, and make sure you find respite for yourself as needed.
--Adapted by Marysue Moses, Ebenezer Dementia Care Program Coordinator, from Lewy Body Dementia Information for Patients, Families and Professionals, NIH Publication No. 13-7907, September 2013
This article was first posted on EbenezerMemoryCare.org/blog. You can visit this website for more resources on caring for someone with dementia.
It will probably come as no shock to caregivers out there, that persons with dementia can at times be very stubborn, critical or emotional. They might start yelling or become physically aggressive. Upsets can escalate quickly and become extreme. The person might refuse to let you, the caregiver, assist them with personal care. It may seem to you that your loved one is responding “inappropriately,” and that this reaction is out of balance to the situation. Why must they get so upset over what seems to you to be something quite insignificant? Why won’t Mom let you comb her hair, for example, when she’s always been so particular about how she looked?
The first thing to realize, and it can be tough for family members to reframe things in this way, is that the person with dementia is not acting “inappropriately.” They are simply responding the only way they know how, given that their brain is damaged. Mom won’t let you comb her hair because she is trying desperately to communicate a need. Maybe her head hurts. Maybe the feel of the comb going through her hair is tingly and unpleasant. Maybe she simply wants to do it herself and not feel like she is being treated like a child. These feelings and/or sensations will be more important to Mom than that fact that Mom used to pay more attention to her appearance, which Mom is not at all concerned with right now.
Mom’s brain is no longer wired to think the way she used to think. But Mom is still a person, with very real needs. It is our job as caregivers to do our best to identify what the need is, and to respond in such a way that the person feels soothed and validated, rather than aggravated.
Some common causes of these so-called “catastrophic reactions” are as follows:
• The person is trying to do something that they can no longer manage
• The person is being asked to multi-task, which is very difficult for a person with dementia
• The caregiver is rushing the person with dementia
• The person does not want to look incompetent or incapable
• The person doesn’t understand what they were asked to do
• The person is tired or doesn’t feel well
Tips for responding effectively to these situations:
• Remain calm.
• Do not argue with the person.
• Without hurrying, and in a matter of fact manner, remove the person from whatever is causing their upset. Do not ask them to complete a task, if that is the frustration. Let them stop. Do not force them in any way.
• Validate whatever feelings the person has, i.e.: “Of course you’re frustrated.” “I would feel that way, too.”
• Reassure the person, once they have calmed down. “I’ll take care of it. I know you’re doing the best you can.” “Mom, you know what, your hair looks just fine as is.” Our priorities need to be flexible when we are caring for a person with dementia.
• Apologize, even if you are not sure what you might have had to do with your loved one’s upset. “I’m sorry if I made things worse, Mom.”
This blog was inspired by information found in The 36 Hour Day, by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins, a book often referred to as “the Bible” of dementia care.
--Marysue Moses, Ebenezer Dementia Care Program Coordinator
This post can also be found on EbenezerMemoryCare.org.
There are many different ways that families handle communicating with their loved one about a move to memory care. The most successful plan will be designed to meet your loved one’s needs. Some family members don’t tell the person they are going to move, knowing this could create undue anxiety. Other families are completely honest with their loved one about the need for “more care” and they have their loved one participate in the move. However you decide to handle the communication, make sure all family members are on the same page, and keep in mind the following guidelines:
DON’T keep reminding your loved one they are moving if it makes them anxious. You might try telling them once, in a matter of fact manner, to see how they take it. If it stresses them out to talk about a move, don’t keep bringing it up.
DO reassure the person that they will be getting more help. Because of their dementia, they may bring up the same concerns or fears over and over. Let the person voice their concerns, and be understanding in your replies, i.e. “I can see why you’re worried about that. We’ll figure it out.”
DON’T pull your loved one into the details of the planning and packing process. Don’t ask them to decide what to bring and what to leave behind. With memory loss, decision making and any process with multiple steps will present challenges. If you don’t already know which objects or knick-knacks are most important to your loved one, spend time observing what things around their home they use and enjoy on a regular basis.
DO work with a move manager. A great example comes from a family who had one daughter take mom out for a morning of shopping followed by lunch, while the other daughter was assisting the move manager. The move manager set up the new apartment to look almost identical to the room in the old house where mom spent most of her time. When they brought mom into her new apartment, she knew something was different, but she felt very much at home right away.
DON’T over-pack. Memory care apartments are small for a reason – large spaces with lots of “stuff” can be overwhelming and anxiety-inducing for people with memory loss. A smaller space with a manageable amount of items in it eases the mind. Again, pay attention to what your loved one actually uses throughout the day and bring just what he or she needs. If your loved one misses something, you can always bring it later.
DO consider leaving the TV at home. As memory loss progresses, TV shows can be hard for people to follow. They can also be upsetting, as they can be confused with reality. Bring music, family photo albums and art or photography books instead – they are more therapeutic. Consider leaving valuables behind too. A person with dementia often picks something up, puts it down, and then forgets where it is. Save yourself the heartache of a missing wallet or priceless family heirloom by not bringing it to the new memory care apartment.
DON’T get started too late in the day. Try to get the move done so that your loved one is settled in their apartment by 2 or 3 p.m. at the latest. As the day progresses we all get tired, but a person with dementia will not cope as well as the rest of us. Enlist more moving help if you need the extra hands to be finished by 2 p.m. – it will make the transition smoother.
DO remember that people usually adjust quite well to their new environment, but that this could take around 2-4 weeks. Be reassured in knowing the staff in the memory care community are there to help your loved one settle into a comfortable routine. Because the new environment (not only the apartment but also the programming and the structure of the day) is designed to fit the needs of a person with dementia, you will start to notice your family member more at ease than they were before the move. When your focus returns to your relationship with your loved one, rather than the details of day to day caregiving, you will also be more content, knowing you have made the right decision.
Join us for this opportunity to capture insightful and effective intervention
strategies in dealing with dementia. Don’t miss author Elaine Pereira’s
heartwarming and humorous story of unwitting mistakes while navigating
through her mother’s unpredictable disease.
Caring for a loved one is challenging but caring for a loved one who no
longer knows who you are can be overwhelming and heartbreaking. Elaine
Pereira shared her journey of caring for her mother with dementia in her book,
I Will Never Forget.
In her presentation on October 27, Pereira will address community and family
caregivers who are going through the dementia journey, dispel dementia myths, and share highlights from her book. She will also examine why language
collapses with the advance of Alzheimer’s and strategies to maintain connections as words fail.
Attendees can enter a drawing for the chance to win a copy of the author’s book!
Presented by Coventry of Mahtomedi Assisted Living and Memory Care
Thursday, October 27, 2016
St. Jude of the Lake Parish – Kohler Hall
700 Mahtomedi Avenue | Mahtomedi, MN 55115
Please RSVP by October 21 to Coventry of Mahtomedi at 651-528-8442 or click here to RSVP online.
When persons with dementia move into a memory care community, it can take from several weeks up to three months or more for the person to adjust and feel comfortable with the new environment and routine. From my personal experience working with memory care residents at one assisted living for over a decade, I would say the average amount of time before the person settled in was no longer than a month. Your loved one may be angry for a while, and may seem more confused than before. This is a perfectly normal phase. Rest assured, things will improve in time. Here are ten tips to help ease the transition:
"No Act of Kindness, no matter how small, is wasted." - Aesop
Do you have a talent or interest you want to share? Are you looking for an opportunity to make meaningful connections with others? Do you want to help with outings?
Then please consider becoming a volunteer at Coventry Senior Living!
Volunteers make a huge difference in the lives of residents. Volunteers of all ages are welcome!
Here are are just a few ways in which you could improve a resident's quality of life: Playing cards or other games; visiting one to one; bringing in pets; helping with manicures; reading with residents; helping with resident outings; and so much more!
It is so meaningful to our residents to have someone spend time with them. Remember the wise words of Maya Angelou, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
If you have any questions, or would like to volunteer, please contact our Activities Director, Christy Holland.
Rachael Wonderlin is the Director of a Memory Care at Senior Services of America in Pittsburgh and specializes in Long Term Dementia care. She compiles a wish list for herself for if and when she's living with Dementia.
Click here to view the article from Next Avenue
As a part of Ebenezer, we KNOW senior housing and senior care. We've worked with thousands of families, helping them to find a community that not only meets their needs, but allows them to thrive. We know choosing a senior living community can feel like a daunting task. To help narrow down your options, ask these questions first:
What type of senior housing do I need?
Not all senior housing is the same. There are many options to consider depending on the level of care you need:
• Independent Senior Living – For those who want to live on their own. Includes apartments, condominiums or cooperative buildings designed for adults age 55 and older. If you need a little extra help, you can contract services such as housekeeping, personal care or wellness.
• Assisted Living – Offers a rental apartment for those who don’t require complicated, full time medical assistance. You can continue living independently, but care is there when you need it through care attendants and nurses. Meals and light housekeeping are part of the package.
• Memory Care – Includes special touches for those with memory loss, such as uniquely designed apartments, specialized programming and controlled exits to give you peace of mind knowing residents won’t wander off the property. Caregivers are also specially trained to work with people with dementia, providing a higher, more personalized level of care and attention.
• Nursing Homes – Offer high-level nursing care around the clock. Long-term care is provided for those who have serious or persistent health issues for which they are pursing treatment. There are also short-term care options – or transitional care – for those who need rehabilitation services after an illness or injury.
For additional help in determining which type of senior living is right for you, read “Choosing Your New Home.”
What happens if I need advanced care?
If your care needs change, make sure your senior living community is equipped to handle your shifting needs. If your care needs increase, will the community you choose require you to move to a different apartment or different community? Or will they be able to bring a higher level of service to you? Is a hospital nearby if you need it? Can you keep your existing physician or will they have physicians that come and visit you in your apartment? Will your medical records easily be transferred?
Not only does Ebenezer offer all types of senior living communities, but we are also affiliated with Fairview Health Services. This means you have a wealth of resources at your disposal, from top-notch physicians to the latest in Alzheimer’s research and memory care resources.
Where do I want to live?
Moving into senior housing brings exciting changes, like choosing the exact area you want to live. Do you prefer the familiarity of your current location and want to find senior housing in your own community? Or, do you look forward to moving closer to loved ones who may live in a different area? Perhaps you are interested in experiencing a new neighborhood altogether?
Since 1917, Ebenezer has been Minnesota’s leader in senior housing, memory care and assisted living. For close to 100 years, our compassionate caregivers have been members of your community. Now, we invite you to be a part of ours.
Schedule a tour today to learn more about the senior living options at Coventry of Mahtomedi Assisted Living and Memory Care. Call us at 651-528-8442.