Barbara Leipow – Dorothy Mangurian Volunteer of the Year Award Recipient
Barbara Leipow is one of the recipients of this year’s Dorothy Mangurian Volunteer of the Year Award. Her background in nursing and personal experience with LBDA help her provide experienced and empathetic support to individuals affected by LBD. She gives her time to the Lewy Body Dementia Association through her commitment as a Lewy Buddy and as an LBD Support Group Facilitator. She speaks at local events educating first responders and emergency personnel on dementia.
She realized she did not know much about the disease when her husband was first diagnosed, even as a medical professional. She recognized there was little support at the time for caregivers or those living with LBD.
Barbara made it a point to learn as much as she could on the disease, and she reached out to those living with it to gain insight into how it impacts them. She has an innate drive to help people where she can, and she gets a sense of positive reinforcement when she knows her efforts have impacted someone for the better.
At the start of her career, dementia was just senility. Since then, understanding of dementia within the medical community has grown, but not significantly enough to where LBD is widely known. Barbara wants to see a wider understanding of LBD within the medical community as well as support for those living with the disease and their families.
Barbara would like to share a few thoughts with the LBD community:
Caregivers – Do not argue with the person living with LBD, you will lose and only increase frustrations. Instead, recognize that your loved one is not going to be who they used to be. If they experience hallucinations, play along. Arguing that the hallucination is not real when the person experience it fully believes it to be real is just going to lead to a dead end. Help your loved one to feel safe and comforted when you address the hallucination.
She recommends that those impacted by LBD find the humor in it. In order to come through this journey, it’s sometimes best to just laugh at it.
September 22, 2020