West Valley, Arizona – Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) is a common form of progressive dementia, second only to Alzheimer’s disease dementia in occurrence. DLB accounts for between 10 percent and 25 percent of all dementia cases, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. How to distinguish between the two types of dementia is the focus of the keynote presentation at the FREE Benevilla Caregiver Connect event planned for March 13th at Estrella Mountain Community College in Avondale.
Keynote speaker Dr. Holly Shill, who is currently leading several studies into DLB, explores dementia symptoms in her presentation, “Differences Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia with Lewy Bodies.” Dr. Shill is the Director of the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center and Movement Disorder Program at Barrow Neurological Institute. DLB is a variant of Alzheimer’s, and the two types of dementia share several characteristics. DLB also shares some characteristics of Parkinson’s disease, and the three disorders may, in fact, all be linked.
Lewy bodies are protein deposits that build up in areas of the brain which affect motor control, memory and thinking. They are named for neurologist Frederic Lewy, who discovered them more than a century ago while studying Alzheimer’s. The cause of DLB is unknown, and treatments focus on easing the symptoms as there is currently no cure for the disease. Some of the symptoms of DLB include:
- Significant variations between alertness and confusion.
- Delusions, visual hallucinations and trouble understanding visual cues.
- Changes in reasoning and cognitive abilities.
- Balance problems, hunched posture and other Parkinson’s symptoms.
- Acting out dreams with flailing of arms, body and leg movements.
- Memory loss that is less prominent than in those with Alzheimer’s.
- Depression, anger, anxiety and apathy.
In her presentation, Dr. Shill will discuss these symptoms in depth and how doctors distinguish between types of dementia such as DLB and Alzheimer’s in making a diagnosis. She will also cover medications and non-pharmacological approaches to treating symptoms and offer DLB-specific support groups for caregivers. Benevilla also provides several support groups for caregivers of those with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and related disorders.
Along with Dr. Shill’s presentation, those visiting Caregiver Connect can attend two additional presentations featuring Heather Mulder from the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and Brenda Holt with AARP. Caregiver Connect takes place from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Wednesday, March 13th at Estrella Mountain Community College.
This informative event also includes a complimentary breakfast catered by Birt’s Bistro and more than 40 senior care vendors and community resources. Caregiver Connect is FREE to attend, however registration is required to ensure your spot. Seating is limited, so register today by calling Benevilla at 623-584-4999.
Started by the community and for the community, Benevilla is a not-for-profit human services agency dedicated to enhancing the lives of West Valley residents by providing care services for older adults, intellectually disabled adults, children and families. Services are provided through a dedicated group of staff and volunteers. For more information on services, volunteer opportunities, to donate to Benevilla or to schedule a tour, call 623-584-4999 or visit our new website, www.benevilla.org.