Lucidity in Dementia Project

We are thrilled to lead one of the first large-scale studies to investigate lucid episodes that occur among people living with dementia in advanced disease stages.

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What is lucidity, and why is it important?

Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia cause progressive, irreversible losses in one’s memory and thinking abilities. There is currently no available cure or treatment for dementia. However, lucid episodes, described as periods of a return of abilities, awareness or memory, have been reported by family and care providers. The occurrence of lucid episodes would suggest that people living with dementia may have more preserved abilities than we were aware of.

Understanding these events could help inform new approaches to care and therapy or strengthen the connections people with dementia have with others. Unfortunately, very little research has been done in this area, meaning we know little about lucid episodes. Our lab is one of 5 teams across the US that have been funded by the National Institute on Aging to help advance our understanding of lucid episodes in dementia.

With input from family members and caregivers, we will conduct an audiovisual observation to capture changes in communication abilities that can help us detect episodes of lucidity. We hope to enroll 40 participants in this study, and 30 and family members to help guide and offer input on our research approach.

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Are you a caregiver to someone living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia?

Researchers would like to learn from you to better understand your views and experiences on times of heightened awareness or clarity experienced by people living with dementia:  

  • There are times when a person living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may have periods of greater awareness or clarity. These moments, often called “lucid episodes,” can be different for each person, but might include increased communication abilities such as speaking more coherently, or suddenly recalling memories or events.  
  • Researchers at the UW-Madison School of Nursing are studying these periods of clarity or awareness and would like to hear from caregivers of people with dementia about their experiences, and their thoughts about how we can best study these episodes. 

Who can participate in this project: 

  • Any family or friend caregiver who has regular contact with the person living with dementia they care for 
  • 18 years of age or older

What participation involves: 

  • One interview lasting 30-45 minutes 
  • The interview will be held at a time that is convenient for you, in person, over the phone, or on a secure video conferencing platform. 
  • During the conversation, we will ask you about your experiences and views as a caregiver surrounding these periods of greater awareness and clarity, and your thoughts on video observation of people with dementia for research purposes. 
  • Researchers will not keep any information that could identify you or link answers back to you. 
  • You will receive $30 for your participation! 

We are currently recruiting family and friend caregivers as well as clinicians.

Learn more about current participation opportunities or get in touch with us at (608) 262-6490 or in the contact form at the right to get involved.

Older adult couple walking in the park
A caregiver helps guide an older adult man with a walker while on a walk outside

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