Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mood Swings.

This disease, this Lewy Body Dementia, is such a strange thing. It can turn a modest man in to one who pees in plant pots. It can make a woman who never once raised her voice, scream and swear. It can make a kind, patient, loving man into one who threatens and hits and insults his loved ones. What is going on in their brains that makes this happen? What doors are being closed forever, and what doors, never opened and for good reason, are being flung wide? Doctors don't really know yet, we just have to live with the reality of it. I was helping a caller the other day whose spouse had become frighteningly aggressive and angry and physical; the caller was shaken, never having seen this behavior in twenty-five years together! What could I do but just commiserate.

We had to move my Father out of his large facility because he threw a chair and took a swing at on orderly after getting into an altercation with another resident. The over-stimulation and hustle and bustle of the facility was too much for his condition and he snapped. After the episode, the staff watched him all the time, and I think he really felt that; it only made him turn aggressive again and again. We found him a very small, quiet AFH, where he has done quite well, although I was disturbed a few months ago to find out that some of the anger had come back, and he had pushed a chair again. They know how to handle him, though, backing off and giving him some space when necessary, redirecting him and distracting him. Even in his dementia, he hates being managed!

I just finished a really good book by one of the founders of the LBDA about Lewy Body; A Caregiver's Guide to Lewy Body by James Whitworth and his wife. In it, I learned that while Alzheimer's takes away memory and comprehension, Lewy Body may Leave comprehension-it just takes away the brain's ability to interpret data and input and communicate it. This blew me away. For a long time I've thought that some of Dad remained behind his eyes, he just didn't know how to get it out there!

I guess those of us with loved ones impacted by this terrible disease have no choice but to continue to watch these 'mood swings' and try to deal with them as we can. Its sure not easy, and my heart goes out to all the caregivers who live with it so closely. Take heart in the knowledge that your loved one is still in there somewhere; Lewy Body may ravage them horribly, but you'll never lose them completely.


  1. This is certainly one of the most valuable posts. Great tips from beginning till end. Lots of suggestions for me and for people. Superb work
    roof cleaning brisbane

  2. Every 69 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s disease. Please share this video and one thing that you never want to forget to help end Alzheimer’s.