April 19, 2021
Even when confusion and memory loss escalate through the end stages of dementia, there’s an interesting and welcome reprieve that often occurs. Formerly termed “terminal lucidity,” it is more commonly now known as “paradoxical lucidity”. It signifies an unexpected, temporary regaining of clarity to an almost pre-dementia frame of mind. During this time period, the effects can vary from nonverbal but emotional connections to significant cognitive recovery.
For friends and family, it’s a gift to be cherished. It gives the opportunity for meaningful conversations and reminiscing, in addition to mutual sharing of thoughts and feelings, if only for a brief period of time. For researchers, it means much more.
Dr. Basil Eldadah, supervisory medical officer in the Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology in the US National Institute on Aging, views 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 6 studies ongoing to answer that very question, and also to gain more detailed insight into the condition and investigate future therapeutic approaches. As documented in initial data from the studies, it is clear that it is a far more frequent phenomenon than realized previously. Dr. Sam Parnia, lead researcher and critical care physician, pulmonologist, and associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center states, “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 caring for a senior with dementia is also critical. It’s essential to bear in mind that this short-lived clarity may arise, making it possible for the opportunity to reconnect with the older adult, while recognizing that it’s not at all indicative of improvement in his/her condition.
For many more Alzheimer’s care resources and educational materials, contact Continuum. We are always here to provide customized in-home dementia care to help make life the best it can be for anyone with Alzheimer’s together with the families who love them, through services including:
- Memory-stimulating games, activities, conversations, and reminiscing
- Specialized, compassionate assistance with the distinct challenges of dementia, for example, wandering, aggression, sundowning, and much more
- Help with safe bathing along with other personal care needs
- Household chores and meals to allow loved ones to savor more high-quality time with the older adult they love
- And so much more
Call us at (314) 863-9912 or (636) 861-3336 to discover how we provide the kind of dementia care and assisted home care St. Louis and other nearby areas choose first. Our care team is here to provide the best possible quality of life for a senior you adore with dementia in St. Louis and St. Charles County. For more details on all of the communities we serve, please visit our Service Area page.