Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) progresses in stages. Although the earliest signs of LBD may be difficult to detect or even indiscernible to friends, the later stages of the disease require a high level of assistance. If your loved one has a Lewy Body Dementia diagnosis and begins to enter the final stages of this type of dementia, a full-time care partner will become necessary to preserve quality of life. Care partners are a vital part of the support system for those with LBD, but it’s just as crucial for these individuals to have their own emotional needs supported. Here, we share the unique needs that caregivers should address to ensure their own well-being throughout this often challenging role.
Why It’s Important to Meet Emotional Needs
Care partners are especially at risk for ailments such as depression and anxiety. In addition to being vulnerable to these conditions due to the demands of caring for a loved one, these individuals sometimes neglect their own health. Full-time caregivers may become so invested in caring for someone with LBD that they forgo a full night’s sleep, put socialization on hold, decline to ask for assistance or make a doctor’s appointment when they’re feeling ill. Care partners tend to be highly empathetic individuals and generally don’t put themselves first. It’s important that they have help themselves as they may begin to form unhealthy coping mechanisms when they’re not adequately supported.
Ways to Ensure Emotional and Physical Health
Caregivers need to maintain their own physical and emotional health, and there are several ways to achieve this goal. Here are a few examples of strategies for tending to emotional well-being:
- Start by reviewing a coping checklist. This example is geared toward cancer care partners, but is applicable to LBD care partners as well.
- Attend a support group. Discussing feelings, challenges, and triumphs is an excellent opportunity for maintaining or improving your emotional wellness. If you are unable to attend a support group or need additional help, our helpline is available seven days per week, and we’re always here to speak with you about your journey as a care partner to someone with LBD.
- Set aside time to exercise. Even a short walk each day can relieve your mind of worries or help you process difficult emotions.
- Make time for socialization. While an LBD-specific support group is a great starting point, it’s just as important to connect with friends and family.
The later stages of LBD present challenges that are difficult to cope with alone. Care partners play a crucial role in the lives of those with LBD, so it’s essential for them to receive the support they need to thrive. If someone you care about has received a Lewy Body Dementia diagnosis, there’s no question that you’ll need a network of supportive individuals to help you along the way. If you’re ever in need of assistance in finding a medical professional or care partner, our team is here to provide guidance. We can be reached via email at any time, and our helpline is available seven days per week at 516-218-2026.