2020 LBD Awareness Month

From Bonnie’s Family to Yours

Bonnie Roache and her mother, Mary Alice, have always enjoyed a warm, loving relationship. So when her mother’s behavior began to turn from affectionate to agitated, Bonnie knew something was wrong. She remembered the neurologist’s numbing words: “Your mother has Lewy body dementia.”

Bonnie became her mother’s caregiver, first helping her find an apartment in Atlanta so they could be closer together. But as LBD started to swallow Mary Alice’s independence, she was forced to move into a memory care facility. Bonnie visited her daily and often found herself having to educate the staff about LBD issues, including Mary’s agitation.

While at the memory care facility, Mary Alice was given medication that conflicted with her diagnosis and suffered a heart attack and put on life support. She recovered, but on her ambulance ride home she fell into distress and was rushed back to the hospital for a second intubation. Bonnie’s sadness about her mother’s trials and her frustration with the healthcare system grew, but fortunately, so did the bond of love between mother and daughter.

Eventually Mary Alice moved into a nursing home. Bonnie would visit her until COVID-19 restrictions were implemented. Just as it did to nursing home residents across the country, the pandemic isolated Mary Alice from her family and the loneliness accelerated the progression of LBD. When she learned that her mother’s disease was in the final stages, Bonnie decided to bring her mother home, where she will be with her loving family.

Despite everything that she and her mother have been through, Bonnie is determined to stay positive. She is grateful for how the LBDA shaped her understanding of the disease, and is now passionate about sharing her experiences to help raise awareness in the healthcare community and beyond.

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