As we age, we can expect minor forgetfulness, differences in our bodies, and slight personality changes.
But increasing muscle loss and stiffness, frequent falls, reduced alertness, and dizziness may be early signs of Lewy Body Dementia.
While Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, Lewy Body Dementia comes in second. It is more challenging to diagnose than other types of dementia, but an earlier diagnosis can help seniors get proper treatment.
If you notice your senior loved one experiencing changes in focus, reduced coordination, difficulty swallowing, or behavioral and personality changes, you have options — including memory care.
There is a link between women and dementia but it’s been debated what that link actually is. Let’s look at the causes of lewy body dementia, prevention and risks for women, and how assisted living can help.
Causes of Lewy Body Dementia
The exact cause of Lewy Body Dementia is a build-up of the protein alpha-synuclein (Lewy Bodies) in the brain. These microscopic proteins gradually damage brain cells over time, affecting a senior’s ability to move and think.
What causes these proteins to clump together and grow is unknown. Scientists are still researching this progressive neurodegenerative disease and searching for answers.
Women and dementia —their risks
Until recently, experts assumed that women were at greater risk for dementia because they lived longer than men. While this is true to an extent, as aging is a risk factor, it is not entirely accurate.
Menstruation and how many successful pregnancies a woman has can play a role in her risk. For instance, women with more than one child are less likely to develop dementia than those with only one.
The theory is that estrogen may protect brain cells. The more pregnancies a woman has, the more her body will produce estrogen. When a female begins menstruation at a young age, she creates this hormone early, which is beneficial as well.
Research has shown that social roles, such as being a caregiver, can also put women at a greater risk for developing memory diseases. Women are typically caregivers for their families, children, and spouses.
Depression and anxiety are more common in women and caregivers and affect mental health, the brain, and heighten their risk.
Genetic factors are at play too. The gene APOE4 increases a woman’s risk, while it doesn’t seem to make a difference in males with the same gene.
What can women do to prevent dementia?
There is no guaranteed way to prevent Lewy Body Dementia, but eating a healthy well-balanced diet, and exercising regularly can help. These both promote brain and heart health.
Your loved one cannot stop themselves from aging or change their genes, but they can decrease their chances of stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Each of these has been correlated with a higher risk of Lewy Body Dementia.
Caregivers can keep a clear mind and manage their stress by participating in calming activities like meditation and yoga. Decreasing depression and anxiety can lower the risk of LBD.
Remaining intellectually active can help too. Women who play card games, memory games, chess, and checkers, are less likely to develop signs of dementia than those that do not play.
Caring for a loved one with Lewy Body Dementia
It may be easy to care for your senior loved one in the early stage of the disease. But, as the disease progresses, caring for them will become more time-consuming and challenging.
Seniors will struggle with balance, coordination, poor vision, and falls.
It’s critical to remove clutter and fall-proof their home, to keep them safe. Add handrails and grab bars where needed and non-slip adhesive strips to rugs.
When speaking with your loved one, speak calmly and gently, and try not to ask too many questions. Being loud, angry, or asking too much of them may frighten them and increase their anxiety.
While there are no cures for the disease, medications may slow the disease or help lessen symptoms. Be sure to monitor their prescription, as they may forget to take it or accidentally over-medicate.
Support groups are great for both seniors and their families. It is a great place to find resources, help, and others with the same experiences.
Caregivers can learn new skills to help their loved ones and more effective ways to communicate with them.
Seniors with LBD can form friendships with others experiencing LBD, and feel seen, heard, and understood.
Feeling understood and learning new skills will help you and your senior maintain your emotional and mental health.
When is the right time to move to a memory care community?
To enhance and preserve their quality of life, seniors require early intervention.
At first, a senior’s symptoms may be so minimal that in-home care is effective and an appropriate choice. When you notice symptoms are increasing or worsening, a memory care community may become the safest option.
If your senior loved one begins wandering, having trouble swallowing, and having hallucinations, it is time to make the transition to an enhanced memory care community.
At The Kensington Redondo Beach, we offer our residents the following:
- Comfort that feels like home
- Adaptive medical attention
- Around-the-clock care
- On-site medical professionals and services
- Life-enrichment activities
- Dining services with delicious meals and special diet accommodations
- On-site rehabilitation services
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Wellness services
Safe, secure, and comfortable living for your senior loved one
The Kensington Redondo Beach is an enhanced assisted living and memory care community that offers seniors assistance and support.
A memory care team understands the unique needs of memory care seniors and the amount of comfort and reassurance they need.
Our Promise is to love and care for your senior loved one and their ever-changing needs as we would our own.
Contact us to learn more about our rehabilitation, psychological and psychiatric services, life-enrichment activities, superior dining services that guarantee proper nutrition, and other amenities.