April 14, 2021 by
Even when memory loss and confusion escalate through the advancement of Alzheimer’s, there is a remarkable reprieve that often occurs. Previously termed “terminal lucidity,” it’s more frequently now known as “paradoxical lucidity.” It signifies a sudden, short-term regaining of clarity to a nearly pre-dementia cognitive state. During this time, the effects can vary from nonverbal but emotional connections to noteworthy cognitive recovery.
For friends and family caring for someone with dementia, it’s a gift to be cherished. It offers an opportunity for meaningful conversations and reminiscing, and also the mutual sharing of thoughts and feelings, if only for a short period of time. For medical researchers, it means a lot 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 incredible. “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.”
There are currently six studies currently in progress to answer that very question, and also to gain more extensive insight into the condition and investigate future therapeutic approaches. As documented in initial data from the studies, it’s clear that it is an even more common phenomenon than previously realized. 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 families caring for someone with dementia is also key. It is essential to know that this temporary clarity may occur, making it possible for the opportunity to reconnect with the older adult, while recognizing that it isn’t indicative of improvement in his/her condition.
For lots more dementia educational materials and care resources, contact At Home Independent Living, the leaders in home care near Syracuse, NY and surrounding areas. We’re also always available to provide specialized in-home dementia care in order to make life the best it can be for individuals with dementia as well as the families who love them, through services including:
- Memory-stimulating games, conversations, activities, and reminiscing
- Knowledgeable, compassionate assistance with the distinct challenges of dementia, including wandering, aggression, sundowning, and more
- Help with safe bathing and other personal care needs
- Meals and household chores to allow loved ones to enjoy more quality time with the senior they love
- And so much more