Newswise — Atlanta, GA, February 10, 2014 — The Lewy Body Dementia Assocation (LBDA) has announced Joy Walker of Seattle, WA as the receipt of the 2013 Volunteer of the Year award. Walker is a writer, hospice worker and bereavement counselor who also worked as a professional care manager for her father who was diagnosed with lewy body dementia (LBD). “Since all of the professionals and volunteers of the LBDA give so much in terms of their dedication and empathy, to receive their approval and commendation through this award means a great deal to me and is an affirmation of my hard work and desire to help other caregivers,” Walker said.
Walker is passionate about the stress and struggle of being a caregiver of a patient with LBD. To that end, she facilitates two LBD support groups in her area and volunteers as a Lewy Buddy, an LBD telephone support volunteer. She also maintains a popular blog on caregiving, end-of-life issues, and the impact on the family unit of illness, such as lewy body dementia. This blog was voted one of Healthline.com’s 25 most popular dementia/caregiving blogs of 2012 and 2013, and was a finalist in SeniorHomes.com’s best individual health blogs of 2013. “Caregiving is not easy, as I personally know, and the LBDA needs as many programs, fundraising events, and volunteers as possible to help provide better support to those who need it, which is why donating time, energy, or money to the LBDA is so important,” Walker added.
In 2011, her memoir was published which documented her experience as her father’s live-in caregiver and eventually having to clean out the family home that was filled with 40 years of cherished memories. Walker is currently finishing her second book, a collection of memoir essays and advice for caregivers.
Understanding Lewy Body Dementia
Lewy body dementia (LBD) is associated with abnormal protein deposits in the brain, called Lewy bodies, that affect thinking, movement, behavior and mood. It’s difficult to diagnose LBD, because its early symptoms resemble symptoms found in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Lewy body dementia, a complex but surprisingly common brain disease, refers to two related diagnoses: Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Both PDD and DLB are considered Lewy body dementias. The difference is in the presentation of symptoms based on the “one-year rule.” With Lewy body dementia, cognitive (thinking) symptoms appear within a year of movement problems. With Parkinson’s disease dementia, cognitive symptoms do not typically develop until more than a year after movement problems begin. The greatest risk factor for LBD is age, most often affecting people over 50 years old.
About Lewy Body Dementia Association
The Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of Lewy body dementias (LBD), supporting patients, their families and caregivers, and promoting scientific advances. LBD, a complex disease that can present with a range of physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms, is a “family disease.” It dramatically affects not only the person diagnosed but also the primary caregiver. Through outreach, education and research, LBDA supports all those affected by Lewy body dementias. To learn more about LBD and LBDA, please visit lbda.org.