When you have a parent who begins to show signs of neurological issues and dementia, it can be a difficult to understand what is going on and what you can do to help them in their current mental state. If you take your parent in for neurological services and treatment and find out that they are suffering from what is known as Lewy body dementia, you may be even more confused. After all, the general public is only usually familiar with Alzheimer's disease. Get to know more about what you can expect when your parent has Lewy body dementia and how you can help them have the best quality of life and treatment they can get.

What Can You Expect From Lewy Body Dementia?

Lewy body dementia is a rapidly progressing form of dementia in its early stages. This means that the changes in your parent's memory and cognition (ability to think and process) will occur suddenly and often without prior warning. These cognitive problems may fluctuate some giving moments of lucidity and clarity but it can be difficult to gauge how frequently these will occur.

In this way Lewy body dementia is quite different from other forms of dementia like Alzheimer's that begin slowly and progress more quickly in the later stages. Lewy body dementia can also cause very vivid hallucinations as well as physical symptoms like stiffened muscles and difficulty walking.

What Are The Treatments Available?

Like other forms of dementia, Lewy body dementia has no known cure. But unlike Alzheimer's and other dementias, the standard medications used for dementia that directly affect the brain can cause serious side effects.

As such, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease medications can be used to slow the progress of Lewy body dementia, but must be first administered in very low doses to determine whether or not side effects like even worse cognitive impairment and even a fatal condition known as neuroleptic malignant syndrome. However, if the medications do work without side effects, people with Lewy body dementia tend to have more noticeable responsiveness to those drugs than patients with other types of dementia.

What Can You Do?

The most important thing you can do for your parent with Lewy body dementia is to be there for them as much as possible. You will need to have patience and understand that there may be many times where your parent does not recognize or remember you. Remember that this is not by their choice.

Unless you are retired or work from home, you will likely need to also hire caregivers for your parent with Lewy body dementia. Because their cognitive impairment will occur quickly and be severe, they will likely need constant supervision and assistance. This can be difficult for family members and children to cover.

So, if you want your parent to stay in their own home or yours, you can hire a home caregiver service. Otherwise, there are memory care homes that are experts at caring for persons with dementia and can provide all of the services your parent needs. Of course, it is equally important to ensure you get your parent to their neurologist appointments and report any side effects of medications or other treatments.

Now that you know more about Lewy body dementia, you can be better prepared to handle the situation if your parent has been diagnosed. Remember that you can always ask for help if you are having trouble providing the assistance that your parent needs and that there are neurological services and treatment doctors and caregivers that are more than happy to help with anything you and your parent may need.