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Lewy Body Dementia in Athens GA

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Lewy Body Dementia Care

Haven Memory Care is a private pay memory care community. We understand that each individual’s journey with dementia is unique. Among the various types of dementia, Lewy Body Dementia presents its distinct challenges and intricacies. LBD, a complex condition affecting thinking, behavior, mood, and physical abilities, requires specialized care and a deep understanding of the symptoms and progressions of the disease

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At Haven Memory Care, we pride ourselves on our comprehensive and compassionate approach to Lewy Body Dementia care. Our expertly trained team is knowledgeable about the specific issues related to LBD, from fluctuating cognition and visual hallucinations to motor control problems and sleep disorders. We are committed to providing a nurturing environment tailored to address these unique needs, ensuring our residents with LBD feel understood, cared for, and safe. Contact us today to discover how we can help your loved one experience an improved quality of life at one of our care centers.

One of the main problems associated with LBD is that it can be difficult to diagnose for a few different reasons. For starters, LBD can share some of the same symptoms of other diseases and can be misdiagnosed. Another reason is LBD can occur alongside other diseases that mimic similar behaviors, the main one being Parkinson’s.

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Contact us if you have a loved one that is struggling with dementia. We’d love to discuss care options with you.

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What is Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is a progressive brain disorder that affects thinking, behavior, cognition, and physical functioning. It is one of the most common causes of dementia and is named after the scientist who first identified the brain abnormalities (Lewy bodies) associated with the condition.

Lewy body dementia progresses slowly with symptoms appearing around age 50 or older. However, cases in younger people have been recorded. As time passes, the disease progressively grows worse over time.

Lewy bodies are abnormal aggregations of protein that develop inside nerve cells, contributing to the neurological changes that lead to dementia. In particular, these proteins affect neurons responsible for functions related to memory, thinking, and motor control.

Residents with LBD experience varying degrees of the following symptoms that our caregivers address each day.

Cognitive Symptoms

Typical symptoms include cognitive problems like confusion, reduced attention span, and memory loss. Visual hallucinations are also quite common in those experiencing LBD.

Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is characterized by a range of cognitive symptoms that differentiate it from other types of dementia. These cognitive symptoms typically fluctuate, varying in severity from one day or even one moment to the next, and include:

Fluctuating Alertness and Attention: This is one of the key cognitive features of LBD. Individuals may have periods of clarity and normal cognitive function, punctuated by periods of confusion, drowsiness, and inattention. These fluctuations can happen within a day and even within an hour.

Memory Problems: While memory issues may not be as prominent in the early stages of LBD as in Alzheimer’s disease, as the disease progresses, individuals may struggle with remembering important information.

Visual-Spatial Difficulties: People with LBD often have trouble judging distance or perceiving objects in three dimensions, which can lead to difficulties with tasks like parking a car or navigating through the house.

Executive Function Difficulties: These can manifest as problems with planning, problem-solving, organizing, or multitasking. This can lead to difficulties with daily tasks that require these skills, such as managing finances or cooking a meal.

Hallucinations: A significant proportion of those with LBD experience vivid visual hallucinations. These can be very detailed and often involve people or animals. Hallucinations in other senses, such as hearing, touch, taste, or smell, can also occur, but are less common.

Delusions: Delusions, or false beliefs, are also common in LBD. These might involve paranoia or unfounded beliefs about others, such as a spouse being unfaithful or a caregiver trying to cause harm.

Disorientation: As with other forms of dementia, people with LBD may become disoriented, particularly regarding time and place.

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How We Care for Residents Who Are Experiencing
Cognitive Symptoms in Athens GA

Safe Environment

Our facility in Athens GA is designed to ensure the safety and security of our residents. This includes safety measures for those who may wander or become disoriented, like secured doors and alarm systems. The design incorporates easy navigation aids and calming, familiar environments to help residents orient themselves.

Medical Management

We ensure that residents receive appropriate medical care, including the administration of medications and coordination with healthcare providers. Since our staff is trained in all stages of dementia, they are trained to observe changes in residents’ behavior or health status, ensuring prompt medical attention when necessary.

Specialized Staff

Our caregivers are specifically trained in all seven stages of dementia so you can be sure that your loved one has the best care available around the clock. Our staff understands and responds to the needs of each resident who is battling cognitive decline. Equipped with skills to manage the unique symptoms of LBD, including fluctuating cognition, visual hallucinations, and memory loss, our team provides best-in-class care that prioritizes resident dignity, empathy, and resident-centered care.

Family Support

Memory care facilities also provide resources and support for families. This includes regular updates on their loved one’s status, education about LBD, and emotional support, such as counseling or support groups.

Structured Routine

Having a structured daily routine can be very beneficial for people with LBD. We provide consistent meal times, sleep schedules, and activity times which incorporate a sense of stability and can help reduce confusion and anxiety.

Therapeutic Activities

We provide activities specifically designed to slow cognitive decline and maintain residents’ current abilities. These may include cognitive therapies, music or art therapy, physical exercise, and social activities, which can improve mood and decrease feelings of isolation.

Nutritional Support

Our facilities provide meals designed to meet the nutritional needs of older adults, including those with LBD. We accommodate dietary restrictions and help with feeding, if necessary.

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Movement Problems

The timing of when motor control functions are experienced can vary. Some residents may experience significant movement problems from the very beginning or several years after diagnosis. Your loved one may be experiencing any of the following movement problems as a result of LBD.

Bradykinesia: This refers to slow movement and a reduction in spontaneous motion, making it difficult for the person to initiate and complete movements.

Rigidity: Individuals may experience muscle stiffness, which can limit their range of motion and cause discomfort.

Tremors: These are rhythmic, involuntary muscle movements that often affect the hands and fingers but can also occur in the arms, legs, body, or even the face.

Balance Problems: LBD can cause difficulties with balance and coordination, increasing the risk of falls.

Shuffling Walk: People with LBD may develop a shuffling gait, with quick, small steps as if their feet are stuck to the floor.

Parkinsonian Gait: This is a stooped posture with a forward tilt, which often accompanies the shuffling walk.

Difficulty with Fine Motor Skills: Tasks that require fine motor control, like buttoning a shirt or using utensils, can become challenging.

Changes in Facial Expression: A person with LBD may have reduced facial expressiveness, often described as a “mask-like” face.

Swallowing Problems: Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, can develop in the later stages of LBD.

Voice Changes: The person may experience changes in their voice, including softer speech, monotone delivery, or slurring of words.

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How We Care for Residents Experiencing Motor-Control Problems in Athens GA

These motor control issues can significantly affect your loved one’s daily life, making tasks they used to perform with ease increasingly difficult, if not impossible to perform. Our caregivers know and understand these difficulties and ensure our residents receive the support they need with their movement so they can experience the best quality of life possible.

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Safe Environment Design

The physical layout and design of our memory care facility in Athens GA is structured with residents’ mobility challenges in mind. This includes installing handrails in hallways, creating clear and uncluttered walking paths, ensuring good lighting, and using non-slip flooring to prevent falls.

Assistive Devices

The facility ensures that residents have access to appropriate assistive devices, such as walkers, wheelchairs, or canes, to help them move safely and maintain their independence as much as possible.

Trained Staff

Our staff is trained to assist residents with their movements and transfers, reducing the risk of falls or injuries.

Personal Care Assistance

Staff assist residents with daily tasks that may be difficult due to movement problems. This includes help with eating, dressing, bathing, and other personal care activities.

Tailored Physical Therapies

Our memory care facilities offer various physical therapies tailored to the individual’s needs and abilities. These therapies aim to maintain or improve mobility, balance, strength, and coordination. These include guided exercises, walking programs, and movement therapies.

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Sleep Behavior Disorders

Sleep deprivation can exacerbate cognitive symptoms and reduce the quality of life of our residents. Some of the sleep problems that LBD causes include the following.

One of the most common sleep disorders associated with LBD is REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD). During the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep, where most vivid dreaming occurs, a person’s voluntary muscles normally enter a state of temporary paralysis to prevent them from acting out their dreams.

However, with RBD, this mechanism fails. As a result, people with RBD physically act out their dreams, which may involve talking, laughing, shouting, gesturing, or even walking. This can lead to injury, both to the person with LBD and others.

Daytime Sleepiness

People with LBD may fall asleep easily during the day, even after a full night’s sleep. This can occur at any time, during activities, conversations, or even while eating.

Insomnia

Insomnia is also common among those with LBD. It can be due to difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early. Nighttime hallucinations and confusion, which are often symptoms of LBD, can also contribute to insomnia.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep, can occur in people with LBD as well. This interruption in breathing can lead to numerous awakenings throughout the night and result in excessive daytime sleepiness.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome, experienced by those with LBD, is characterized by a strong urge to move the legs due to discomfort. This can further disrupt sleep cycles.

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How We Care for Those Experiencing Sleep Disorders in Athens GA

Nighttime Supervision

Our trained staff in Athens GA provide overnight supervision to ensure safety for residents who may experience nighttime confusion, wander, or have vivid dreams or hallucinations.

Sleep Environment Management

Our memory care facilities create a conducive sleep environment by controlling light and noise levels, maintaining a comfortable room temperature, and providing comfortable bedding. For those with REM sleep behavior disorder, a common symptom in LBD, additional safety measures may be implemented to prevent injuries during sleep.

Nutritional Support

Dietary factors can significantly impact sleep. We provide well-balanced meals and limit foods and drinks that can interfere with sleep, such as caffeine and alcohol.

Activity Planning

Physical activities and social engagement during the day can help promote better sleep at night and we excel in this area as well. We plan a range of suitable activities to keep residents active and engaged.

Relaxation Techniques

We offer various relaxation techniques, such as guided meditation, music therapy, and massage, to help residents unwind and prepare for sleep.

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Behavioral Changes

Lewy Body Dementia can significantly impact a person’s behavior often leading to considerable changes that can be distressing.

Fluctuating Alertness and Thinking (Cognition): One of the key features of LBD is pronounced variations in attention and alertness. Individuals may have periods of clear, logical thinking and alertness, followed by periods of confusion or sleepiness. These fluctuations can occur from hour to hour or day to day, leading to unpredictable behavior.

Visual Hallucinations: Many people with LBD experience visual hallucinations, where they see things that aren’t there. These hallucinations can be very vivid and detailed, often involving people or animals, and can cause significant confusion and distress.

Depression and Apathy: Individuals with LBD often experience changes in mood, including depression and apathy. Depression can involve feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed. Apathy, or lack of motivation and interest, is also common.

Anxiety: Anxiety, including fears or restlessness, is frequently seen in people with LBD. These feelings of anxiety can lead to restlessness and can sometimes result in aggressive behavior.

Agitation and Aggression: Some individuals may become easily agitated or even aggressive, particularly when they feel overwhelmed or misunderstood. This behavior is often out of character for the person and can be distressing for their loved ones.

Paranoia and Delusions: Some people with LBD may develop false beliefs (delusions) or become suspicious or paranoid. These delusions may involve believing that a caregiver is trying to harm them or that a spouse is being unfaithful.

Impulse Control Problems: Some people with LBD may experience changes in their impulse control, leading to behaviors such as compulsive eating, shopping, or gambling.

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Dysautonomia

Dysautonomia, also known as autonomic dysfunction, is a common feature of Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). It refers to the disruption of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which controls many of the body’s automatic functions, including heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and temperature regulation.

In the context of LBD, dysautonomia can manifest in various ways:

Orthostatic Hypotension: This is a form of low blood pressure that happens when a person stands up from sitting or lying down, leading to dizziness or fainting. This occurs because the ANS doesn’t adequately adjust blood pressure in response to changes in posture.

Heart Rhythm Irregularities: The ANS helps control the heart rate. If disrupted, individuals might experience palpitations, fast heart rates, or slow heart rates.

Gastrointestinal Issues: The ANS regulates digestion. With dysautonomia, individuals might experience constipation, difficulty swallowing, or a feeling of fullness soon after starting to eat.

Bladder Control Problems: Disruptions in the ANS can lead to urinary incontinence or difficulties in emptying the bladder fully.

Sweating Abnormalities: People with dysautonomia might sweat excessively or not enough, and they might have trouble controlling their body temperature.

Sexual Dysfunction: Men might experience erectile dysfunction, and women might have difficulties with sexual arousal due to the disrupted functioning of the ANS.

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Our Plan of Care for Those Experiencing LBD in Athens GA

Our healthcare professionals in Athens GA review the plan of care for each resident every 3 months. During this time, therapy, counseling, and activities are planned to address the needs of our residents. Our caregivers are experts in Lewy Body Dementia support and prioritize quality of life for all of our residents.

We balance an engaging, enriching atmosphere with a carefully designed physical environment to offer a comfortable space conducive to the well-being of those with LBD. Our care plans incorporate cutting-edge therapeutic strategies and treatments, as well as lifestyle modifications to manage symptoms and maintain the highest possible quality of life for our residents.

Call us today to discuss your loved one’s situation with our compassionate team.