Social Worker Darby Morhardt describes dementia with Lewy bodies.
Dementia with Lewy bodies is a dementia where the first symptoms, instead of memory like Alzheimer’s disease, people with Lewy body dementia can have really very good memories at the beginning, but what, the symptoms they are having are changes with gate, walking, motor imbalance and, but it’s also coupled with hallucinations. They are seeing things and hearing things that are--mainly seeing things--that are not there.
They often have very colorful images that they are seeing that are not, they are not really bothered by, that are very surprising to families, but they are not, and they also have a lot of difficulty with, they usually have a sleep disorder, or they have the inability when they are waking up from a dream to distinguish the reality from the dream and so, that is also another symptom of the disease.
It can also fluctuate more than Alzheimer’s disease in that, people can have days where they are functioning normally and then, all of a sudden, have these bizarre types of hallucinations or problems with the gate, with the gate imbalance as well. And then, which is also very frustrating for families because they think that the person probably is faking it because they functioned so well yesterday. Why aren’t they today? So it can be a very, very confusing, difficult illness.
About Darby Morhardt, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.:
Darby Morhardt is a research associate professor, the Director of Education, and a clinical research social worker at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Her research interests include early stage and Younger Onset dementia programs and services, the dynamics and functioning of caregiving families, the subjective experience of Alzheimer's disease, and primary care physician education.