Lucidity in Late-Stage Dementia: What It’s Teaching Us

Caregiver comforts patient in late stages of dementia.
JFS Care, providers of senior home care in Burbank, CA and nearby areas, discusses lucidity in late-stage dementia.

Even as confusion and memory loss escalate during the advancement of dementia, there’s a fascinating and pleasant reprieve that often occurs. Formerly termed “terminal lucidity,” it is more frequently referred to now as “paradoxical lucidity.” It signifies a sudden, short-term return of clarity to an almost pre-dementia state of mind. The effects of lucidity in late-stage dementia can cover anything from nonverbal but emotional connections to substantial cognitive recovery.

For friends and family, it is a special gift to be treasured. It offers the chance for meaningful reminiscing and conversations, together with the mutual sharing of thoughts and feelings, if only for a short period of time. For researchers, it means a lot more.

Dr. Basil Eldadah, supervisory medical officer in the Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology at the US National Institute on Aging, looks at the opportunities as astounding. “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 research studies ongoing to answer that very question, and also to gain more in-depth insight into the condition and to explore future therapeutic approaches. As documented in initial data from the studies, it’s clear that it is a 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 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 caring for a loved one with dementia is also important. It’s essential to know that this lucidity in late-stage dementia may appear, making it possible for the chance to reconnect with the older adult, while recognizing that it isn’t indicative of improvement in his/her condition.

For more dementia care resources and educational materials, reach out to JFS Care. We are also always here to deliver senior home care in Burbank and the nearby areas with specialized in-home dementia care that helps make life the best it can be for anyone with Alzheimer’s and the families who love them, through services such as:

  • Memory-stimulating games, conversations, activities, and reminiscing
  • Specialized, compassionate assistance with the unique challenges of dementia, such as aggression, wandering, sundowning, and so much more
  • Help with safe bathing and other personal care needs
  • Household chores and meals to allow members of the family to enjoy more high quality time with the older adult they love
  • And so much more

Contact us online or reach out to us at 213-383-2273 to find the best possible quality of life for someone you love with dementia or to learn about our other services for senior home care in Burbank and the surrounding communities. We’re happy to schedule a free in-home consultation and discuss why we’re the top provider of in-home care.