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Support & Insight for the Autumn of Life

4 Tips for Living with Lewy Body Dementia

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Getting to a diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia and then learning how to live with it is challenging. Here are some tips to help ease the way. Check them out!


The National Institute on Aging says coping with a diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) and all that follows can be challenging. Getting support from family, friends, and professionals is critical to ensuring the best possible quality of life. (The iconic late actor Robin Williams never knew he had LBD.)

Creating a safe environment and preparing for the future are important. Take time to focus on your strengths, enjoy each day, and make the most of your time with family and friends. Here are some ways to live with LBD day to day.

1. Create a support system

Your family and close friends are likely aware of changes in your thinking, movement, or behavior.

You may want to tell others about your diagnosis so they can better understand the reason for these changes. For example, you could say that you have been diagnosed with a brain disorder called Lewy Body Dementia, which can affect thinking, movement, and behavior, and that you will need more help over time.

By sharing your diagnosis, you can build a support team to help you manage LBD.

As LBD progresses, you will likely have more trouble managing everyday tasks such as taking medication, paying bills, and driving. You will gradually need more assistance from family members, friends, and perhaps professional caregivers.

Although you may be reluctant to get help, try to let others partner with you so you can manage responsibilities together. Remember, LBD affects your loved ones, too. You can help reduce their stress when you accept their assistance.

Find someone you can talk with about your diagnosis — a trusted friend or family member, a mental health professional, or a spiritual advisor. It may be helpful.

2. Take steps to be safe

LBD causes changes in thinking and movement that can lead to safety issues. Consider these steps:

Fill out and carry the LBD Medical Alert Wallet Card and present it any time you are hospitalized, require emergency medical care, or meet with your doctors. It contains important information about medication sensitivities.

Consider subscribing to a medical alert service, in which you push a button on a bracelet or necklace to access 911 if you need emergency help.

Address safety issues in your home. Consider areas of fall risk, poor lighting, stairs, or cluttered walkways.

Think about home modifications that may be needed, such as installing grab bars in the bathroom or adding stairs with ramps. Ask your doctor to refer you to a home health agency for a home safety evaluation.

Talk with your doctor about LBD and driving. Have your driving skills evaluated, if needed.

3. Plan ahead after the LBD diagnosis

There are many ways to plan ahead after a diagnosis of LBD. Here are some things to consider:

Start conversations early.

Soon after your diagnosis, start conversations with your family and doctors about the care you’d like to receive in the future.

If you are working, consult with a legal and financial expert about planning for disability leave or retirement. Symptoms of LBD will interfere with work performance over time, and it is essential to plan now to obtain benefits you are entitled to.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in elder law or estate planning to help you write or update a living will, health care power of attorney, will, and other documents.

Identify local resources for home care, meals, and other services before you need them.

Explore moving to a retirement or continuing care community where activities and varying levels of care can be provided over time, as needed. Ask about staff members’ experience caring for people with LBD.

4. Participate in activities you enjoy

Despite the many challenges and adjustments that come with an LBD diagnosis, you can have moments of love, humor, tenderness, and gratitude with the people closest to you. Your attitude can help you find enjoyment in daily life.

Make a list of events and activities you can still enjoy — then find a way to do them! For example, listen to music, exercise, or go out for a meal with family and friends.

If you can’t find pleasure in daily life, talk with your doctor or another health care professional about effective ways to cope. Let your family know if you are struggling emotionally so they can offer support.

For more information about living with LBD

NIA Alzheimer’s and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center
800-438-4380
adear@nia.nih.gov
www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers
The NIA ADEAR Center offers information and free print publications about Alzheimer’s and related dementias for families, caregivers, and health professionals. ADEAR Center staff answer telephone, email, and written requests and make referrals to local and national resources.

Alzheimers.gov
www.alzheimers.gov
Explore the Alzheimers.gov portal for information and resources on Alzheimer’s and related dementias from across the federal government.

Eldercare Locator
800-677-1116
eldercarelocator@n4a.org

https://eldercare.acl.gov

Lewy Body Dementia Association
404-935-6444
800-539-9767 (LBD Caregiver Link)
www.lbda.org

Lewy Body Dementia Resource Center
833-LBDLINE
norma@lbdny.org

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B. Berger

B. Berger

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Welcome

This site was inspired by my Mom’s autoimmune dementia.

It is a place where we separate out the wheat from the chaffe, the important articles & videos from each week’s river of news. With a new post on Alzheimer’s or dementia appearing on the internet every 7 minutes, the site’s focus on the best information has been a help to many over the past 15 years. Thanks to our many subscribers for your supportive feedback.

The site is dedicated to all those preserving the dignity of the community of people living with dementia.

Peter Berger, Editor

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