When do I seek medical help for dad's Lewy Body Dementia?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 08, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Dad has been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. He has been showing signs of Dementia for about 4 years now. This year he has been taken to the ER twice, we thought he had a stroke. Couldn't talk, shaking, urinating on himself and all over the house. Total out of it! Taken to the ER and 10 hours later he is acting normal, feeding himself pudding. Lately the spells of lucidity have gotten longer and he is living in an earlier period of his life. Then he slowly returns to us, knows where is and back to nearly normal. We know when he is plummeting, How can we know when it is serious enough to get medical intervention?

Any good books to help us with Dementia, for Dummies?

Expert Answers

Brenda Avadian, brings knowledge, hope, and joy to family caregivers for loved ones with Alzheimer's and dementia. She cared for her father with Alzheimer's and helps families one-on-one and in groups. She is the author of eight books, including the pioneering memoir "Where's my shoes?" My Father's Walk through Alzheimer's and the Finding the JOY in Alzheimer's series. She presents vivid, compelling, and funny keynotes to both professional and family caregiving audiences.

You write that your father has been showing signs of dementia for about 4 years and that he's been diagnosed with Lewy body dementia.

You added that he was taken to the ER twice with stroke-like symptoms.

Depending on when he was diagnosed, you may want another (or more recent) opinion.

At the earlier stages of dementia, the leading causes such as Alzheimer's, vascular, Lewy body, and Parkinson's manifest symptoms that appear to overlap.

Medical professionals have been known to revise their diagnoses as the symptoms characterizing one or the other, become clearer with the disease's progression.

Stroke-like symptoms could be indicative of a form of vascular dementia.

Yet, spells of lucidity characterize those living with Lewy body dementia.

I'd recommend a reassessment. Sometimes the truth of an answer is in a well-crafted question. And yours, "How can we know when it is serious enough to get medical intervention?" might very well mean he needs to be reassessed.

Also, instead of a good book on dementia,I recommend contacting the Lewy Body Dementia Association[lbda.org]

And although these Medscape articles Clinical Differences Among Four Common Dementia Syndromes[medscape.com] are from 2007, you may see something within each that strikes familiarity in what you observe with your dad. (Use the "Next page" buttom at bottom of the linked article to forward to each short piece.)