Kathy Teyler Jarrett – Dorothy Mangurian Volunteer of the Year Award Recipient

Kathy Teyler Jarrett is one of two recipients for this year’s Dorothy Mangorian Volunteer of the Year Award. She is dedicated to supporting the LBD community through service, and she is writing a book on LBD geared toward caregivers, “You Are Not Alone: Dealing with Lewy Body Dementia”.

Her late husband had LBD, and she realized there was a lack of support in the community. Initially, Kathy did not know what was wrong with her husband. When she discovered the LBDA website, she began reaching out and connecting with others in the LBD community. This drove her, after her husband’s passing, to want to help others find the support and resources they need while caring for their loved ones, and that she wished she had access to.

Kathy realized that information on LBD was not widely known among many healthcare professionals. She said, “LBD is a distinct set of symptoms that are unique, and medications have to be given with care because the sensitivity to certain medications used in the treatment of other dementias.” She implores specialists to ask how the caregiver is doing because they are often overstressed and in need of help.

She has given talks to local healthcare workers on Lewy body dementias and the detrimental effects certain medications can have on those with the disease. Kathy has presented on the symptoms of LBD and the hesitance of physicians to diagnose without the presents of parkinsonism. In addition to presenting on the disorder, she is an LBD Support Group facilitator and Lewy Buddy.

Kathy has some final thoughts she would like to leave with readers:
Caregivers – You have to be creative. You must figure out ways to deal with symptoms that don’t take away the person’s humanity, but that make them understand you are keeping them safe and help them get through anything. This may mean you have to play along with hallucinations or delusions; for example, if your loved one thinks there’s a bear cub in the room, you may need to agree and sweep it out the door. This validates your loved one.

She also wishes to impart on caregivers how important support is. Take any support you can get from friends, family, support groups, etc. They can help.

Those living with LBD – It’s a scary disease, but reach out to the people that love you and can give you the support you need.


September 22, 2020