A Lewy Body Dementia Diagnosis Sparks Support for Caregivers

October 03, 2016 6:00 AM

The disease is devastating to patients and families. Tamara Real shares her experience caring for her late husband — and how she’s now giving back.

 

When her husband “lost his sparkle,” Tamara Real knew something wasn’t quite right. It took two years, though, for retired University of Michigan professor Carl Rinne’s diagnosis of Lewy body dementia.

LBD is the third most common type of dementia, but it’s often confused with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Real witnessed the toll LBD takes on the body and the mind as she cared for Rinne through his final years.

“It’s really hard when someone you know loses their grip on reality in that way,” says Henry Paulson, M.D., Ph.D., U-M professor of neurology and director of the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

In Rinne’s honor, Real established the Rinne Lewy Body Dementia Initiative at the University of Michigan to support care partners and patients and to increase education and awareness about the condition.