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When Lucidity Returns in the Late Stages of Dementia and What It’s Teaching Us

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The late stages of dementia may bring lucidity to a loved one.

Even as confusion and memory loss escalate during the late stages of dementia, there’s a remarkable and welcome reprieve that often occurs. Formerly termed “terminal lucidity,” it’s more frequently now known as “paradoxical lucidity”. It represents an unexpected, short-term return of clarity to an almost pre-dementia state of mind. During this period, the effects can cover anything from nonverbal and emotional connections to significant cognitive recovery.

For loved ones, it is a special gift to be cherished. It gives the chance for meaningful conversations and reminiscing, and also the mutual sharing of thoughts and feelings, if only for a short period of time. For scientists, it means a lot more.

Dr. Basil Eldadah, supervisory medical officer at the Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology at the US National Institute on Aging, looks at the opportunities as remarkable. “It gives us some pause with regard to our current theories and understanding about the nature of dementia. We’ve seen enough examples of this to be reassured that dementia can be reversed – albeit temporarily, very transiently – nevertheless, it does reverse. And so the question then is how.”

Currently, there are six studies ongoing to answer that very question, and also to gain more thorough insight to the condition and explore future therapeutic approaches. Based on initial data from the studies, it is clear that it is a far more common phenomenon than realized previously. Dr. Sam Parnia, lead researcher and critical care doctor, pulmonologist, and associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center shares, “If you talk to hospice nurses and palliative care doctors, they all know about this. But no one’s ever studied it properly because no one ever thought anyone would take it seriously enough. So what I wanted to do is to help move this into the scientific realm.”

Education for family members taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s is also essential. It is crucial to know that this short-lived clarity may arise, allowing for the chance to reconnect with the senior, while understanding that it’s not at all indicative of improvement in his or her condition.

For more dementia care resources and educational materials, connect with Home Sweet Home In-Home Care, the experts in Kalamazoo long term care. We are also always available to provide specialized in-home dementia care to help make life the very best it can be for people with Alzheimer’s and also the families who love them, through services including:

  • Memory-stimulating games, conversations, activities, and reminiscing
  • Knowledgeable, compassionate assistance with the unique challenges of dementia, such as wandering, aggression, sundowning, and more
  • Help with safe bathing, along with other personal care needs
  • Household chores and meals to permit loved ones to enjoy more high-quality time with the senior they love
  • And so much more

Contact Home Sweet Home In-Home Care to discover the best possible quality of life for a senior you love with dementia. For a full list of the communities we serve, please visit our Locations page. Give us a call at (269) 373-5444 in Kalamazoo, (269) 763-5350 in Paw Paw, (269) 849-9252 in St. Joseph, or (269) 963-9888 in Battle Creek.

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