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. My non-medical viewpoint is that it varies. No, I'm not "copping out." The dementia I've witnessed, some of it Alzheimer's and some of it other types, has suggested to me that people likely do understand their surroundings on some level, even if it's just the body language or mood of his or her caregiver. Also, some people with dementia will have inexplicable moments of clarity where they seemingly come out of the walled-off state and momentarily return to a state that is indicative of their pre-dementia personality.
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