Has sudden lucid moments

  All Alzheimer's Symptoms

When it happens

At any stage, although they're more rare and therefore more noticeable as the disease progresses

Why it happens

No one's sure why some people with dementia suddenly "snap back" to their old selves for brief intervals, which can last from a few moments to a day.

What you can do

  • Treat your loved one with your usual respect, kindness, and love. Know that lucid moments aren't triggered by the degree of your devotion; they're serendipitous.

  • Try playing favorite music. For unknown reasons probably having to do with the way the brain organizes memory, music has been known to trigger these kinds of lucid moments. Even people with severe-stage dementia often begin to sing, dance, and keep time for the length of a song or two.

  • Try a little "reminiscence therapy" -- looking at objects or images representative of the person's past lives (work objects, dolls for a mother, hobbies, awards, remnants of childhood) and talking together about them. Sometimes this sparks happy reminiscences that feel like old times.

  • Avoid quizzing the person or trying to force memories.

  • Cherish these moments when they happen.