It can be frustrating for caregivers when their loved one with Lewy Body Dementia suddenly showtimes for a brief period of time. During these episodes of Lewy Body Dementia showtiming, the person with dementia may seem almost normal and act like they do not have any cognitive or physical impairments.
While it can be a relief for caregivers to see their loved one seemingly doing better, it can also be exhausting for the person with dementia. In this blog post, we will discuss the phenomenon of showtiming and how it affects caregivers and those living with Lewy Body Dementia.
What is Lewy Body Dementia Showtiming?
Showtiming refers to the brief periods of time when a person with Lewy Body Dementia appears to be doing much better than they usually do. During these episodes, the person may be able to communicate more clearly, walk without any assistance, stop their hallucinations, and overall just seem like they are doing much better than usual. While this may be a relief for caregivers to see their loved one seemingly doing better, it can also be frustrating because it is not a sustainable improvement and the person usually returns to their baseline level of functioning after a period of time.
What Causes Showtiming?
It is unclear what exactly causes showtiming episodes, but it is thought that they may be caused by a temporary increase in dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in movement, motivation, and reinforcement learning. In Lewy Body Dementia, there is a loss of dopaminergic neurons, which leads to problems with movement, motivation, and cognition. However, during a showtiming episode, it is thought that the brain is able to temporarily increase dopamine levels, which leads to an improvement in symptoms.
Showtiming in Front of Doctors and the Medical Team
One of the worst times that showtiming occurs is in front of the doctor or medical team. They may put on a show of health for their doctor. This is often done in order to avoid a negative outcome, such as a life-changing diagnosis. Showtiming at the doctor’s office can lead to a number of problems, including the denial of important symptoms and the delay of necessary medical treatment. In some cases, showtiming may even result in the doctor’s dismissal of the patient’s concerns.
One way to deal with this anomaly is to let the doctor know beforehand the symptoms the person is really experiencing. There are a couple of ways to do this.
- Keep a journal of symptoms and behaviors that have happened. Chronicle with dates and times. Print out the applicable items and take it with you to the appointment and hand it to the nurse or doctor when you arrive.
- Message your doctor before the appointment in your online medical access app, like MyChart or Epic. Tell them the specifics of what you want them to know. This is an easy way to say things that you might not want to mention in front of your loved one.
- Video your loved one when they are having a particularly hard time. This will realistically show the medical team what exactly is happening and what symptoms are presenting. Try to get the doctor to see this before going in the room for your visit. Even if it takes giving your phone to the doctor or staff, this is an excellent way to show the real person.
How Does Lewy Body Dementia Showtiming Affect Caregivers?
Caregivers of people with Lewy Body Dementia may find showtiming episodes to be both frustrating and exhausting. It can be frustrating because the episodes are not sustainable and the person usually returns to their baseline level of functioning after a period of time. It can also be exhausting because it takes a lot of energy and effort to care for someone during one of these episodes. Showtiming episodes often occur without warning and can last for hours or even days. This can leave caregivers feeling drained, both physically and emotionally.
If you are a caregiver for someone with Lewy Body Dementia, it is important to take care of yourself both during and after showtiming episodes. Make sure to get plenty of rest and take breaks when you need them. You may also want to consider talking to other caregivers or joining a support group so that you can connect with them.
Creating Problems with Family Members and Friends
Creating problems with family members is one of the many challenges that showtiming can pose for caregivers. When showtiming, the person with dementia may seem like they are back to their old self, which can be confusing and frustrating for family members who are not as close to the situation. It is important to communicate with your family members about showtiming and how it affects you so that they can be understanding and supportive.
For family members or friends that have not seen your loved one since Lewy Body Dementia symptoms started with your loved one, they may not believe that there was ever anything wrong and you, the caregiver, are making it up. The family members might think that they have not been getting an accurate portrayal of the person’s condition.
What Can Caregivers Do to Help?
If you are a caregiver for someone with Lewy Body Dementia, there are several things that you can do to help during and after showtiming episodes:
- Make sure the person is well-rested: after showtiming episodes occur the person is often exhausted and tired, so make sure to encourage them to take breaks and get plenty of rest.
- Create a calm environment: Showtiming episodes can be stressful because it takes up so much of their energy. Try to create a calm and relaxing environment afterward. This may include playing soft music, dimming the lights, or doing relaxation exercises.
- Avoid overstimulation: Too much stimulation can worsen showtiming symptoms, so try to avoid loud noise, bright lights, and large crowds.
- Encourage positive self-talk: Help the person reframe their thoughts by encouraging positive self-talk. For example, if they are feeling frustrated, help them to see the situation in a more positive light.
How do you Explain to Others that Someone is Just Showtiming?
If you are trying to explain showtiming to someone who is not familiar with Lewy Body Dementia, it can be helpful to use an analogy. You could say that showtiming is like a battery charger for the brain. Just as a battery charger can temporarily increase the power of a battery, showtiming can temporarily increase the levels of dopamine in the brain, which leads to an improvement in symptoms. However, just as a battery will eventually run out of charge, the effects of showtiming will eventually wear off and the person will return to their baseline level of functioning.
It is also important to remember that showtiming episodes are not the same as a remission or cure. A remission is when someone with a chronic illness such as cancer experiences a period of time where their symptoms go into complete remission and they are able to live relatively symptom-free. A cure is when an illness is completely cured and there is no risk of the symptoms returning. Showtiming episodes are neither remissions nor cures, and it is important to manage expectations accordingly.
Lewy Body Dementia Showtiming Means Taking Care of Yourself Too
Showtiming can be a frustrating and exhausting experience for both caregivers and people with Lewy Body Dementia. However, it is important to remember that these episodes are only temporary and the person will eventually return to their baseline level of functioning.
If you are a caregiver, it is essential to take care of yourself both during and after showtiming episodes. Make sure to get plenty of rest and take breaks when you need them. You may also want to consider talking to other caregivers or joining a support group so that you can connect with others who understand what you are going through.
Showtiming is a phenomenon that can occur in Lewy Body Dementia. It is characterized by a temporary improvement in symptoms, which is usually followed by a return to the person’s baseline level of functioning. Showtiming episodes can be both frustrating and exhausting for caregivers, so it is important to take care of yourself both during and after showtiming episodes. There are several things that caregivers can do to help during showtiming episodes, such as making sure the person is well-rested, creating a calm environment, and avoiding overstimulation.