Dementia and Mood Changes

Written by Active Minds on Friday the 26th of April 2019.


As your loved one progresses along their dementia journey, you may notice some changes in their mood and behaviour. These changes may be sudden, so it’s important to react with a caring and calm demeanour, and although this may be new to you, remember they are still the same person.

Mood changes can happen for a variety of reasons, for example, if your loved one becomes confused it may cause frustration and fear. This can manifest in a number of ways; sometimes in anger, sometimes in anxiety. Although very difficult,  if you can try to accept and anticipate these mood changes it  can help your loved one.

Tips for dealing with mood changes

  • Keep a Diary – When dealing with mood changes it can be helpful to work out whether there are certain triggers for the change in mood. Keeping a diary of your loved ones mood changes can help to identify what these triggers are and help to avoid them. A diary, can also mean you can keep track of the ways you have successfully calmed your loved one down, and effective techniques which work for them.


  • Activity – Ensuring your loved one can lead a happy and healthy life means encouraging them to join in various activities. Whether this is socialising, taking part in hobbies or regular gentle exercise, these can all help to reduce mood swings and improve someone’s overall wellbeing.


  • Distraction – Sometimes one of the most helpful ways to move past a mood change, particularly one of anxiety is through reassurance and distraction. Introducing a calming activity that your loved one can focus on is an excellent technique.


  • Be Empathetic – Making sure you always react with empathy and care is important to reassure your loved one. Reacting negatively may make the situation worse, your patience and understanding is key.

Calming Activities

There are many different activities which can have a calming effect on someone’s mood and may help your loved one if they are feeling agitated or anxious.

  • Going for a Walk – Getting outside in the fresh air and having a peaceful stroll can help ease tension and reduce stress. Being outdoors tends to be calming for many people and is a great way to distract from mood changes. Be sure that you choose a quiet, peaceful location so as not to overwhelm your loved one.


  • Colouring – Art activities such as colouring and painting can be extremely soothing and will provide a great sense of accomplishment for your loved one. These activities are great as they are less likely to cause frustration and allow your loved one to focus on something calming and relaxing where they can express their emotions.


  • Puzzles –Jigsaws and other puzzles which are the appropriate level of challenging, could provide a relaxing distraction for your loved one which will in turn help to reduce frustration and any anxieties. The completion of a puzzle can give your loved one a sense of fulfilment and accomplishment.


There are many different reasons for mood changes to occur in someone living with dementia, and it’s important to understand that these are normal. Whilst some may be challenging, it’s important to be prepared and have activities and techniques on hand which will calm your loved one and help them understand why they may be feeling that way.