RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Laura Wadsworth remembers the way her mom used to be.
“She was an artist, very creative, major gardener,” Wadsworth lists. “And she loved to laugh.”
Now 76 and in the throes of dementia, her mother’s personality is unfortunately past-tense.
“Getting a diagnosis can sometimes, can be extremely difficult,” Wadsworth says.
After years of symptoms, test and roadblocks, the diagnosis finally came: Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), the second most common cause of progressive dementia behind Alzheimer’s disease.
Wadsworth says well over a million people have it.
However, LBD is often mistaken for Parkinson’s Disease because the two conditions both present hallucinations, paranoia, stiffness and balance issues.
“Even caregivers aren’t aware of them as they should be,” says Wadsworth about LBD’s symptoms.
It is why Wadsworth organized and is adding members to a new support group in Richmond. It is called TOAD, which stands for ‘The Other Additional Dementias.’
Wadsworth says TOAD is for all of those families still navigating a rare dementia diagnosis, and she helped to start it in honor of her mom’s vibrant self.
“We miss that.”
TOAD meets every fourth Friday of the month from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. at The Rec Room, 4116 W. Broad Street in Richmond.