Are People with Advanced Dementia Aware of Their Surroundings?
Even among medical experts, you will find differing opinions on how much someone with advanced dementia of any type understands. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in particular can render a person mute and uncommunicative, especially during the final stages of the disease. This situation commonly leaves family members wondering how much their loved one is aware of and whether their efforts are providing any comfort.
Loving family members, and others who care for and about people with dementia, would like an answer to their question about how much a person understands. Personally, my non-medical viewpoint is that it varies. As a caregiver, my experiences with many types of dementia suggest to me that people likely do understand their surroundings on some level, even if it may only be picking up on their caregiver’s body language or mood. Also, some individuals have inexplicable moments of clarity where they will seemingly come out of their walled-off state and momentarily return to a state that is similar to their pre-dementia personality.
Moments of Clarity:
I was recently chatting with a group of students from a university class that uses my book as a text, and a young woman shared a story about her grandmother that started an interesting discussion.
The young woman was in her twenties and her name was Anna. Although she had never known her grandmother without AD, they still had a close relationship. Twenty years…
Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories. “For anyone having to walk the last segments of life with a loved one, read this.” …Delores
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