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7 Stages Of Lewy Body Dementia

7 Stages Of Lewy Body Dementia

One of the most common forms of dementia is Lewy body dementia. Early signs of this disease can easily be confused with Alzheimer’s or even schizophrenia, according to nia.nih.gov. LBD can either simply develop over time or in combination with several other brain disorders.

This progressive disease does take a long time for symptoms to develop and show. Typically, the time span from diagnosis to death is 5-8 years, but some studies have shown 2-20 years is a possible range, as well. Here are the seven stages of LBD:

Stage 1: Normal Behavior

Individuals entrenched in stage one of LBD will show little to no signs at all of the disease. You will see no dementia symptoms and there will be no impact on the individual’s life at this point.

Stage 2: Mild Changes

You may not be able to notice anything wrong during stage two of LBD. Memory issues may be ignored and passed off as a normal part of aging.

Stage 2 Signs:

  • Some difficulty finding words.
  • Normal functioning in and outside of the home.
  • Ability to overcome memory problems like finding the right words eventually.

Stage 3: Mild Changes

This is generally the stage where slight changes may become noticeable. You can see changes in the individual’s thinking and reasoning, while also seeing some memory issues.

Stage 3 Signs:

  • Moments of forgetfulness.
  • Beginning to have problems at the workplace.
  • Trouble paying attention.
  • Difficulty finding words and/or names.
  • Trouble managing money and remembering appointments.

Stage 4: Mild Dementia

Despite the mild dementia symptoms, your loved one should be able to remember past events, family members and friends.

Stage 4 Signs:

  • Forgetting familiar names and/or items.
  • Forgetting where they placed important items like a phone or wallet.
  • Decreased knowledge of recent events.
  • Mistakes while driving.
  • Difficulty problem solving.
  • Increased issues with money management.
  • Issues with daily tasks.

Stage 5: Moderate To Severe Mental Decline

While your loved should still be able to recognize friends and family, they may have increased trouble remembering past events. At this point they may need help performing routine daily tasks.

Stage 5 Signs:

  • Personality changes and mood swings.
  • Repeat same questions or thoughts.
  • Memory gaps.
  • Need assistance while eating or using the bathroom.
  • Bladder problems.

Stage 6: Severe Mental Decline

The memory of the individual will really start to fade in stage 6. This may be the time to consider hiring someone for 24-hour at-home care.

Stage 6 Signs:

  • Strong mood swings and obvious personality changes.
  • Different eating habits.
  • Getting lost.
  • More bladder problems.
  • Difficulty speaking in general.
  • Lack of awareness.
  • Delusions.

Stage 7: Severe Dementia

The individual will no longer recognize loved ones. 24-hour care is a necessity during this final stage of LBD.

Stage 7 Signs:

  • Loss of ability to eat, swallow and speak.
  • Not able to use bathroom without assistance.
  • No muscle control.
  • Always disoriented.
  • Loss of bladder/bowel control.
  • May need to stay in bed constantly.

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How To Talk To A Parent With Dementia

Coronavirus Advice For Seniors

Understanding how to communicate and interact and with our loved ones through this time is vitally important. Read more about these communication strategies for communicating with someone with dementia.

Communication Techniques For Those Suffering From Dementia

Many people use the expression, “empty shell of a person” when describing a loved one in the later stages of dementia. Unfortunately, dementia does transform people, but those that are living with dementia are far from “empty shells.” The shell may become challenging to open, and some days it might not open at all. But don’t forget there is still a beautiful, loved one within.

Knowing how to “open the shell” gives us the opportunity to significantly connect with our dementia-stricken loved one — even if only for a short-lived moment. But there are techniques and artistry involved with connecting emotionally or communicating with a loved one who is afflicted with dementia.

Here are some tips on how to communicate effectively with someone who has dementia:

  • Realize what you’re facing. Dementia does get worse over time. Those with dementia will gradually have a more challenging time understanding others, as well as communicating normally.
  • Stay away from distractions. Find a good place and time to talk when there aren’t a lot of distractions around. This will allow your loved one to focus all their mental energy on communicating.
  • Speak naturally and clearly in a warm and calming voice. Avoid ‘baby talk’ or any other kind of disdain.
  • Try and refer to them by their name. Avoid “he,” “she,” and “they” during your conversations. Names are also significant when greeting a loved one with dementia. For example: “Hi, Dad. It’s me, Tony,” is to be preferred over, “Hey. It’s me.”
  • Avoid talking about too many topics. Someone with dementia might not be able to engage in the mental back and forth involved in keeping up with a conversation with numerous threads.
  • Try using nonverbal cues. For example, keep eye contact and smile. This will help comfort your loved one and will establish understanding. When their dementia is very advanced, nonverbal communication may be your only option.
  • Listen attentively. If you can’t understand something your loved one is telling you, kindly let them know.
  • Don’t over think your talks. Your conversations usually will not go very far if you try to correct every little statement your loved one makes. It’s alright to let misstatements and delusions go.
  • Be patient. Give your loved one some time to think about what you are saying. If you need to ask a question, give them a moment to respond. Try not to get frustrated.
  • Be aware that there will be good days and bad days. While the common trend of dementia sufferers is a downward decline, people with dementia will have their ups and downs just like everyone else.

Read more about the very early signs of dementia right here.

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