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Young or old, most people enjoy looking their best. Unfortunately, seniors who are facing mobility issues or similar concerns can have a difficult time getting that kind of care on a regular basis. Even for seniors who don’t have mobility issues, it’s easy to find an excuse to put off your next haircut. But the good news is that finding in home haircuts for seniors is usually quite easy, so loved ones may not need to struggle finding their next trim. Aging with Style As we grow older, the styles that work for us change. For women, limp or thinning hair may be most flattering with pixie cuts, bobs, or similar shorter styles. For people with fine hair, keeping length on top allows for more versatility in styling. Shorter hair has the desirable side effect of being much easier to maintain, too. Likewise, men who are facing thinning hair or bald spots often look their best while wearing their hair layered and short. Blocked hairlines are good for men with thin necks, while tapered cuts are a better choice for heavyset men with thicker necks. Fortunately, there’s no need to memorize this information when you have the benefit of a stylist who has experience working with senior hair. Finding an in Home Hair Stylist for Seniors You may not have heard of it before, but in the digital age, mobile hairdresser is an increasingly common profession. Mobile hairdressers may dye, cut, or otherwise style a client’s hair in any number of different ways. Whether preparing for a formal event, like weddings, or part of a normal routine, mobile hairdressers can be an incredibly convenient service for seniors. Mobile beauty services often include more than just haircuts, too. On occasion, they’ll include foot care, nail care, and a variety of similar spa services. Apart from the increase in businesses that now specialize in in home hair care for seniors, there are also a number of free apps that can be used to find in-home stylists in your area. And then there’s the old fashion method. If you can’t find a listing for stylists who specifically perform haircuts at home for seniors, you can try calling stylists and salons in your area to see if they do home visits. If they don’t, you can ask if they know any stylists who do. Another good option is to try asking a local nursing home for the name of the person who services the residents in their faculty. Feeling Sharp with Elderly Haircuts at Home Getting the right haircut can help nearly anyone renovate their look, and feel better about how they present themselves to others. Getting your hair cut can be an enjoyable social experience, so most seniors also value the individual attention. Whether or not your loved ones can travel to a salon or barbershop, access to an in home hair stylist for elderly people can make a world of difference.
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As we age, our taste buds start to diminish and we find that we cannot enjoy the same foods as much as we used to. In this post, we will explore why we experience this loss of taste buds with age, potential risk factors, and what you can do to solve this issue. Do Taste Buds Change with Age? According to Dr. Steven Parnes, a New York-based ENT-otolaryngologist, the average person is born with about 9,000 taste buds. They cover the tongue and have varying degrees of sensitivity to different kinds of flavors. The cells on these taste buds replace themselves every 1-2 weeks. However, there is an increased risk of loss of taste buds with age. Younger taste buds easily heal a few days after burning your tongue on hot food or beverages while older taste buds are not as capable to recover from such injuries. Parnes adds that men typically lose their taste in their 60s while women lose theirs in their 50s. What Causes Loss of Taste in Elderly Adults? The loss of sense of taste in elderly people can result from a number of factors. Poor dental health can result in a need for dentures, which can affect the quality of chewing, especially if they do not fit properly. This can reduce food compounds from breaking up in saliva and prevent contact levels with your taste buds’ sensory receptors. Furthermore, aging can also cause you to produce lower levels of saliva, making it harder to dissolve food and to carry food compounds to your taste receptors. Certain medications can also affect the loss of taste in elderly people. Antibiotics, cholesterol medication, blood-pressure medication, beta blockers, and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors can all result in funny tastes. Speak to your doctor if you think your medicine may be changing your sense of taste. Overall health can also play a role in your sense of taste. Head injuries, respiratory infections, allergies, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease can all impair this sense. Cigarette and alcohol use can also impact your taste buds and affect them more so with age. Are There Risks for Taste Changes with Age? The loss of taste buds in elderly people can result in some dangerous side effects in your health. For starters, the first taste sensations you are likely to lose are sweet and salty. This may cause you to add too much salt or sugar to your food, resulting in high blood pressure and poor heart health. Additionally, you may lose interest in eating certain foods once you lose the ability to taste. This could cause unhealthy weight loss and malnutrition. Furthermore, you may experience social isolation and depression since you are not going out to eat with friends or family as often. How Do You Fight Aging Taste Buds? Luckily, there are a few steps you can take once you notice your taste buds starting to diminish. These steps include:
  • Brush, floss, and use mouthwash to prevent gum disease, which can impact your ability to taste.
  • Check the expiration dates on food before consuming to prevent yourself from accidentally eating soiled or stale products. If there is no expiration date listed, write the purchase date with a permanent marker.
  • Use herbs and spices to enhance flavor without increasing your blood pressure.
  • Food tastes best at its proper temperature. Decreasing the temperature on cold food or increasing temperature on hot food can improve taste.
  • Make meals into social occasions to prevent social isolation while ensuring you get a filling meal.
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We’ve all fallen before, but as we get older, falls become far more dangerous. Falls are the leading cause of injury among seniors, including the leading cause of fatal injury. Among those who survive, a fall could threaten their future independence. Falls can also take a huge financial and personal cost. By looking over some senior fall statistics, it’s far easier to appreciate the importance of prevention. Slip and Fall Statistics According to the National Council on Aging, every year, about one quarter of Americans over the age of 65 will suffer from a fall. Fall fatalities statistics show that falls result in one ER visit every 11 seconds, and one fatality every 19 minutes. These deaths are disproportionately among the elderly. Falls can affect people of any age, but seniors are at significantly greater risk of suffering from a fall. When an accident happens, seniors are also at greater risk of suffering from more severe injuries. For elderly people, falls are more likely to lead to head trauma, spinal cord injuries, fractures, or other long term complications. Death from falls statistics show that falls are something to take seriously, especially for seniors. According to the World Health Organization, falls are the second leading cause of accidental death around the world, with falls causing as many as 646,000 deaths annually. Most fatal falls occur among adults 75 or over, but falls are also the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. Falls in the Elderly Statistics - Costs What about the financial costs for survivors? Fall injury statistics from the CDC show that around 20% of falls will lead to a serious injury, like a broken bone. In total, falls lead to more than 2.8 million injuries in emergency departments each year, as well as nearly a million patients being hospitalized. For 2015, estimates suggest the cost of treating those injuries was nearly $50 billion dollars, a cost which is projected to reach $67.7 billion by 2020. On a personal level, the costs are no less staggering, with the average cost of treating a fall panning out to around $30,000. Avoiding Falls Senior fall statistics can paint a grim picture, but it’s important to remember that falls aren’t inevitable. By taking some precautions and making a few accommodations, you can often reduce the chance of a loved one suffering from a fall. That’s because falls are usually caused by a combination of factors. A person who has trouble walking may not be at a greatly increased risk of suffering from a fall, but their risk quickly increases with comorbid issues. According to the CDC, some of the numerous conditions that make you more likely to suffer from a fall include lower body weakness, vitamin D deficiency, issues with balance, and vision problems. Likewise, research associated with the National Council for Aging Care has found vascular diseases, depression, and arthritis are associated with a nearly 30% increase in risk of falling. Caring for Loved Ones Some seniors become afraid of suffering a fall, and become less active in response. However, cutting back on activity only leads to weakness, which ironically only increases a person’s chance of falling. In addition to encouraging loved ones to stay active, it helps to secure loose rugs, place down no-slip mats, install shower bars, add non-slip treads to wooden steps, and take similar steps to ensure grips is available. Though there’s no guarantee you can stop a loved one from falling, by taking simple steps like these, it is possible to greatly reduce their risk.
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We’ve all fallen before, but as we get older, falls become far more dangerous. Falls are the leading cause of injury among seniors, including the leading cause of fatal injury. Among those who survive, a fall could threaten their future independence. Falls can also take a huge financial and personal cost. By looking over some senior fall statistics, it’s far easier to appreciate the importance of prevention. Slip and Fall Statistics According to the National Council on Aging, every year, about one quarter of Americans over the age of 65 will suffer from a fall. Fall fatalities statistics show that falls result in one ER visit every 11 seconds, and one fatality every 19 minutes. These deaths are disproportionately among the elderly. Falls can affect people of any age, but seniors are at significantly greater risk of suffering from a fall. When an accident happens, seniors are also at greater risk of suffering from more severe injuries. For elderly people, falls are more likely to lead to head trauma, spinal cord injuries, fractures, or other long term complications. Death from falls statistics show that falls are something to take seriously, especially for seniors. According to the World Health Organization, falls are the second leading cause of accidental death around the world, with falls causing as many as 646,000 deaths annually. Most fatal falls occur among adults 75 or over, but falls are also the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. Falls in the Elderly Statistics - Costs What about the financial costs for survivors? Fall injury statistics from the CDC show that around 20% of falls will lead to a serious injury, like a broken bone. In total, falls lead to more than 2.8 million injuries in emergency departments each year, as well as nearly a million patients being hospitalized. For 2015, estimates suggest the cost of treating those injuries was nearly $50 billion dollars, a cost which is projected to reach $67.7 billion by 2020. On a personal level, the costs are no less staggering, with the average cost of treating a fall panning out to around $30,000. Avoiding Falls Senior fall statistics can paint a grim picture, but it’s important to remember that falls aren’t inevitable. By taking some precautions and making a few accommodations, you can often reduce the chance of a loved one suffering from a fall. That’s because falls are usually caused by a combination of factors. A person who has trouble walking may not be at a greatly increased risk of suffering from a fall, but their risk quickly increases with comorbid issues. According to the CDC, some of the numerous conditions that make you more likely to suffer from a fall include lower body weakness, vitamin D deficiency, issues with balance, and vision problems. Likewise, research associated with the National Council for Aging Care has found vascular diseases, depression, and arthritis are associated with a nearly 30% increase in risk of falling. Caring for Loved Ones Some seniors become afraid of suffering a fall, and become less active in response. However, cutting back on activity only leads to weakness, which ironically only increases a person’s chance of falling. In addition to encouraging loved ones to stay active, it helps to secure loose rugs, place down no-slip mats, install shower bars, add non-slip treads to wooden steps, and take similar steps to ensure grips is available. Though there’s no guarantee you can stop a loved one from falling, by taking simple steps like these, it is possible to greatly reduce their risk.
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Everyone seems to have an idea of all the places they want to visit once they retire. But as we age, it can become more difficult to get around. Some of us may struggle with stairs or walking for long periods of time. Some of us may need a cane, walker, or wheelchair to assist with mobility. These mobility challenges can make travel to all those places you dreamed about before retirement seem intimidating, or completely out of reach. Luckily, this is not the case. There are a myriad of travel destinations that offer great vacations for seniors with mobility issues, and several exciting ways to get there. The seemingly obvious choice for vacations for senior citizens with limited mobility is a cruise. Cruises these days go almost anywhere, and while cruise ships are large they are extremely accessible. Elevators assure you that you never need to worry about a flight of stairs. Everything is contained so you never need to leave the ship if you don’t want to. And staff can be found right around the corner to assist in any way necessary. If cruising the ocean isn’t your thing, you can find river cruises both in the United States and abroad. The options are endless. A cruise is not your only choice, though, if you are looking for trips for seniors with limited mobility. Several popular tourist destinations are more accessible than you might think. You could visit the magnificent Niagara Falls. You can see everything there is to see from the deck of the Maid of the Mist or on a trolley tour. You can even visit the Cave of the Winds via elevator, with no stairs or extraneous walking required. Another great destination for seniors with limited mobility is Washington D.C. The city offers shuttles to its various sites. The Lincoln Memorial is particularly accessible, with bathrooms and water fountains on ground level. Additionally, Park Rangers, who can be found near every historical site, are often very accommodating and happy to assist anyone who may have trouble with mobility. If you would prefer to leave the trip planning to someone else, you can find specially designed tours for seniors with limited mobility. Nearly every travel and vacation company on the internet offers tours specifically for seniors, with a slower pace and less walking than the average tour. You can see gorgeous sites throughout the United States and Europe without concern about keeping up or slowing down the rest of the group. Finally, for excellent firsthand knowledge about world travel with limited mobility, visit the blog Curb Free with Cory Lee. Cory is a world traveler who has visited six of the seven continents all from his wheelchair. His blog not only shares his inspiring stories, but also offers helpful information about wheelchair accessibility in all the places he has visited. His blog features articles like How to Get Around Philadelphia Pennsylvania in a Wheelchair and The Ultimate Guide to Wheelchair Accessible Barcelona, Spain. Don’t let the thought of traveling with limited mobility intimidate you or keep you confined to your hometown. Whether you need a walker, wheelchair, or just need to take your time, the perfect vacation for you is out there. Live out those retirement dreams and see the world!
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Long-distance traveling can be difficult for elderly people due to mobility issues and health complications. In this post, we will explore transportation methods, travel tips, and services. How Does Aging Affect Traveling Ability? Driving is one of the most straightforward modes of transport but that is not always an option. When it comes to elderly transportation, driving ability can be severely impacted with age.
  • By age 60, drivers need three times more light than they did at age 20
  • Roughly ⅓ of Americans over 65 experience age-related hearing loss, which can hinder one’s ability to hear high-pitched noises such as sirens or car horns
  • Pain in muscles or joints may impede reaction time
  • Use of over-the-counter or prescription medications may impact one’s ability to drive safely
Assessing Transportation Services for Elderly When coordinating transportation, elderly disabled people need to keep a few questions in mind. These include:
  • Will my insurance cover this?
    • Some insurance providers may offer set amounts of transportation for medical purposes.
    • Contact your provider for more information.
  • Do they offer senior discounts?
    • Some public transit services provide senior discounts.
    • Check the provider to purchase a discounted pass or ticket.
  • Will health conditions be taken into consideration?
    • Transportation for handicapped elderly can be difficult due to physical disabilities.
    • Consult your doctor before departure to determine your needs during your trip.
  • What will I be able to bring with me?
    • Check the space you will be traveling in to determine how much you are able to bring.
    • Bring all absolutely essential items with you and arrange other transportation options for additional items
Transporting Elderly Cross Country Long distance elderly transportation can be achieved in numerous ways. In this section, we will give you tips on how to navigate transportation services for elderly and disabled adults.
  • By air
    • Check with your airline to ensure they can meet any and all accommodations, including:
      • Wheelchair
      • Assistance navigating airport security
      • Assistance traveling between gates if there are layover flights
    • Request an aisle seat near a bathroom for easy access
    • Pack travel pillow, blanket, and medications for use on the plane
    • Check luggage, even carry-ons, for ease of transport through the airport and plane
  • By car
    • Make sure the vehicle is equipped to seat you properly
    • Bring medication if prone to car sickness
    • Budget stops into your itinerary for meals, restroom breaks, sleep, or to stretch your body
  • Non-emergency medical transport
    • Look for a service that provides adequate space and medical equipment for non-emergency needs
    • Use a service with medical professionals and professional drivers in attendance to ensure the elderly person will get to all destinations safely
    • Check with the service to ensure they keep rest stops in mind
Examples of Transportation Services for Elderly People Options for elderly transportation services include but are not limited to:
  • Paratransit (for those who qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act)
  • Uber or Lyft
  • GoGoGrandparent (connects elderly people with rideshare options)
  • Veyo (partners with insurance companies and health facilities to provide transportation)
  • Your local county public transportation service (call your county’s Area Agency on Aging or use ElderCareLocator)
For further reading on long-distance caregiving, click here.
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Griswold Home Care offers a $1,000 annual scholarship to a qualified student pursuing a bachelor’s, associate’s, graduate, or professional degree at an accredited college or university. Winners will usually have at least a  3.75 GPA, and have experience in caregiving. We would like to congratulate Samridhi Singh as 2018's Griswold Home Care Annual Scholarship winner! Read more about Samridhi, how she started on the path to a nursing degree, and what she plans to do with that degree after graduation. About Samridhi Singh: My name is Samridhi Singh and I am a freshman majoring in nursing with a psychology minor at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. For as long as I can remember, my family used to encourage me to be an engineer, but when I started as an inpatient volunteer at Mary Bridge Hospital, my vision changed completely. I held a toddler in my arms and learned that he had been in the hospital for 200 days, fighting leukemia. When you see the unfair realities of life, it makes you take a deep look at what is versus what can be. Each week, holding those babies warmed my heart as I became entrenched in their joys and sorrows, trials and tribulations, and smiles and tears. It made me wish that they would get to have long, healthy lives ahead of them. Thus I decided to pursue nursing. Another thing that sent me down the path to nursing was when I completed my CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) training in high school. Since then, I began visiting and volunteering at adult care homes. Adult care is one issue I am passionate about because it is important, yet currently sidelined since our society sadly considers seniors as those who have outlived their utility. Nuclear family systems don’t support the care of aging parents, so although adult homes are a good solution, the care provided varies immensely based on how expensive the facility is. This is quite unfair. I would like to complete my nursing program and specialize in adult care to provide affordable yet ideal care. To this effect, I would like to start a non-profit organization to make available health care services for adults with physical disabilities and/or cognitive impairments and also provide social-emotional support so they do not feel lonely, sad, or uncared for. I’d love to have partnerships with elementary schools, arrange for children to spend time with the seniors, organize music recitals, celebrate birthdays, have partnerships with flower shops and bakeries that can donate goodies - anything to improve the seniors’ mental wellness and quality of life. I am also aware of how differently the medical system runs in many underdeveloped or developing countries of the world. If you don’t have the money up front for the hospital care that you are seeking, you are not allowed inside the hospital gates. Most hospitals are either massively expensive, while the others are at best mediocre. The care provided is not enough. There are too many patients and underpaid, overworked employees who work unhappily and merely for the paycheck. Therefore, looking at the medical care that is provided here, I appreciate how a person is treated as a person, with dignity and respect. The doctors, nurses, and all hospital staff seem to care about the patient - not only the physical, but also the emotional well-being. They smile, talk to you decently, want to know more about you as a person, and give you the best care possible. They are considerate and have abundant patience. It gives you the feeling of being cared for. Watching my grandparents battle serious health issues and not receive adequate care while living in a different part of the world makes me value the care that is provided here, and I want to be part of this system. I would like contribute to the nursing profession by bringing in my own insights, using critical thinking in fast-thinking situations to look at the consequences of my actions as well as being able to see the benefits. I truly believe it is essential to help the patients by not only giving them medications but also by talking to them and reassuring them. St. Francis Xavier says, “Be great in little things.” I see myself as a transformational leader, who believes in setting a personal example. I am a doer and staunchly believe in working together to bring our community together. For me, service towards others is the foundation to uplift those around us and I plan to do just that, no matter when, how, and where I am. Being a good human being is most important to me so I not only become a productive individual but also a contributing member of our society.
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As our beloved family members and relatives grow older, it can become more difficult for them to complete their everyday tasks on their own. They may have a physical ailment or disability that makes it harder for them to move around unassisted. They may suffer from a mental deficiency related to old age, like dementia or Alzheimer’s. Whatever the reason, the elderly person can no longer function as well as he was able to previously. Not only is this frustrating for the older adult who is used to his independence, it is also frustrating for the elderly person’s family and relatives who must take on a caregiving role. Adding the role of caregiver onto an already busy adult life can feel daunting. You may already be working more than one job, taking care of children, or any number of other responsibilities. There is no doubt that you would happily add taking care of an elderly relative into your schedule if you were able, but sometimes this is simply impossible. In this situation, in home assistance for elderly family members may be the ideal solution. Help Available for Elderly Living Alone Home help for the elderly, also known as in-home care, generally consists of a non-medical professional that lives in the home with the elderly or homebound person. The in-home caregiver will work with the elderly in their own home, and can assist with a variety of tasks, including cooking meals, assisting with dressing and bathing, making sure medication is taken on time, and even light housekeeping. The caregiver can also accompany the elderly person to doctor’s visits, social outings, or family events, as well as occasionally provide transportation if necessary. With a caregiver providing assistance for the elderly living at home, the elderly person can lead a regular, full life. Family and friends can rest assured that their loved one is being properly cared for by a trained professional. I have personal experience looking for help for the elderly living at home. When my great uncle needed support to continue living at home, we turned to an in-home caregiver. I cannot stress enough the relief provided by knowing your elderly relative is in good hands. Before my great uncle had a caregiver, he would frequently call my mother for assistance, sometimes even in the middle of the night. He would forget to take his medication, and once even fell and it was several hours before anyone knew. Having an in-home caregiver was a huge relief for my mother and the rest of the family who no longer had to worry about my great uncle falling, or getting sick and forgetting his pills, or missing a doctor’s appointment because he could no longer drive. The peace of mind for us, and for my uncle who was much less lonely now that someone else was in the house, was worth every penny. The caregiver was even able to accompany him to the hospital when necessary to stay with my uncle and keep my mother and the rest of the family members informed about what was happening. Caregivers provide support for elderly adults living at home, and are a blessing to those in need. If you are in a situation where more support is needed for elderly people living alone, and you need the peace of mind that comes with knowing they are taken care of, look into in-home caregiving. It is the perfect solution for both you and your elderly loved one.
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Running errands can be difficult for elderly people when it comes to setting time aside or performing physical tasks. A senior errand service or other related service can provide necessary assistance. Let’s answer some questions about errand runners, errand services, and how they can change an elderly person’s life for the better. Why is it helpful to run errands for elderly? For those with mobility or memory issues, errands can be time consuming, and sometimes dangerous, chores. Running errands for seniors can provide peace of mind for both the senior and the caregiver. Can I hire someone to run errands for me? Yes, there are services that specialize in helping seniors with errands. Check your local senior-care center for more information or pop in a quick Google search of “senior errand service” and the name of your town or state for referrals. What type of service does an errand helper provide? An errand helper can provide help with errands such as:
  • Mailing and delivering packages
  • Shopping trips
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Arranging household repairs
  • Technology help
  • Vehicle maintenance and hygiene
  • Transportation to and from appointments, social occasions, barbers/hairdressers, etc.
  • Meal preparation
Furthermore, an errand runner can:
  • Provide companionship
  • Make sure medications get taken at the correct time and dosage
  • Keep them in touch with family and friends through technology assistance
  • Prevent strenuous physical exertion and minimize risk of injury
  • Ensure cleanliness and hygiene through trips to the dry cleaners, laundromat, or barber/hairdresser
What type of schedule should I expect when I need someone to run errands for me? Most errand runners try to keep their work during normal business hours for full- or part-time work. However, some can run errands for the elderly after-hours at an additional charge. Check with the service for more information. How else can I get help with chores and errands? If you do not necessarily want to use a full errand service, there are also ways you can receive help with tasks on a case-by-case basis. Here are a few time-saving tools to run errands:
  • Boxed: Get items at wholesale prices delivered to your home. Boxed lets you buy bulk items such as groceries, toiletries, and household essentials without the trip or membership fees of Costco, BJ’s and the like.
  • Rover: If you’re ever away from your dog during a long day, Rover will connect you with a dog walker or dog sitter.
  • Shyp: Just snap a photo of an item you want to ship, then select the packaging and a pickup time to get items shipped to friends and family.
  • TaskRabbit: Get any odd job done the same day or on a monthly basis. Just log into the app, post your errand, get a price, and you’re done.
  • Uber/Lyft: Get rides to appointments with the touch of a button.
  • Zoom Errands: Just enter in your errand and location and Zoom Errands professionals will show up and take care of your needs. All employees for this service participate in background checks for added safety.
Are there any other places where I can find an errand runner for seniors? Yes! Griswold Home Care provides homemaker services, which includes errands, chores and more.
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Experiencing a burst of energy before death sounds like it would only happen in dramatic films or other forms of fiction. But it’s actually fairly common, and has been observed in modern medical literature for at least two and a half centuries. You can even find accounts from ancient Greek physicians like Hippocrates. What is the burst of energy before death called? Even though these anecdotal accounts have been around for a long time, this phenomenon was only given a name in modern medicine as recently as 2009. That’s when a German biologist by the name of Dr. Michael Nahm who studies this question coined the name terminal lucidity. But what is this surge before death, and what do we know about it? Lucidity Before Dying There are essentially two varieties of terminal lucidity. With the first variety, a person afflicted by an affective disorder will have their symptoms become less severe. With the second variety, a person who may have been unresponsive will suddenly recover full mental clarity and experience a surge of energy before death. In either case, families may begin to feel as though their loved one has suddenly recovered, only for them to die minutes or hours later. What makes terminal lucidity mysterious is that it also occurs in patients who suffer from severe degenerative illnesses. They might have suffered from a stroke, brain tumor, or from the neural decay of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. All of these things give reason to believe the brain’s circuits are heavily impaired or even destroyed -- and yet normal cognition seems momentarily possible even with a damaged brain. A woman who failed to recognize her daughter for years may suddenly remember everything and begin talking with her. A man who was paralyzed and without speech may smile, speak, and socialize. Anecdotal stories even include accounts of paralyzed people moving, and those without speech speaking once more. How common is terminal lucidity or dementia clarity before death? The truth is, we don’t know. It hasn’t been well studied. But one small study has estimated about 10% of dementia patients will experience this sudden improvement before death . Among those who do, the majority die within a week of doing so, and about half of them within the same day. What Causes Terminal Lucidity? Like many good mysteries, science currently has no answer to this question. That’s mostly for a number of practical and ethical reasons. Terminal lucidity occurs unexpectedly or with previously unresponsive patients. You can’t easily study confused or non-responsive patients. If someone wanted to study this, a medical ethics board would have to determine how the research might benefit patients. And when you imagine palliative care, you probably don’t imagine constant monitoring and blood sampling. Apart from anecdotal accounts, science has essentially no evidence to analyze this problem. It’s challenging to study, and it seems likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future. Of course, there are no shortage of untested theories. For example, some have speculated that as our organs fail, it might release a steroid-like substance that helps energize the brain. But the truth is nobody knows. Preparing for Terminal Lucidity When loved ones rally before death, all you can do is try to appreciate it. There’s a common question around this burst of energy before death: how long does it last? Terminal lucidity only lasts for a short time, so knowing that it might occur can allow caretakers and loved ones to take advantage of one final chance for meaningful communication.

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