Since rapid mood swings are common symptoms of dementia, this guide will help you understand what helps with dementia mood swings and how to handle them.
Many persons with the progressive illness at some point will become moody, switching between various emotions fast for no reason.
On the other hand, some people with dementia will show less emotion than they used to in the past.
Handling Dementia Mood Swings
When it comes to expressing emotions, dementia may lower an individual’s inhibitions which can result in an increase in angry outbursts or crying.
Mood swings can start happening even in the early stages of the disease.
Some people with the illness will have mood swings because they are having trouble coping with losing their abilities as they try to understand their new terrifying and bewildering world.
Mood swings may also be happening because of the physical changes that are happening in the brain.
Sometimes, mood swings can be a result of pain, hunger, boredom, or feeling too hot or too cold.
Other possible causes of mood swings include:
Coping with Mood Swings
Coping with mood swings can be hard for the person experiencing them as well as those around them.
Below are some of the tips that caregivers can use to help a person with the illness.
Trying to Understand the Affected Individual
One of the things to do when wondering what helps with dementia mood swings is to accept that the changes are caused by the illness and the affected person is not acting out on purpose.
It is important to identify a person’s likes and dislikes because this can help reduce the severity of the mood swings as well as their frequency.
Additionally, it may also help to know what makes the affected person feel relaxed, their favorite music, activities they like to participate in, things that upset them, or the times when the person mostly acts out.
Gathering this type of information allows caregivers to predict when the problems with mood swings may occur to prevent them or know what to soothe them.
Other coping mechanisms that can work include:
Consulting a Doctor
The professional will assess the person with dementia to find out if they have depression or any other psychiatric issues.
The physicians can also prescribe medication in case the mood swings seem excessive or dangerous.
These can include anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants, and antipsychotics that can make the mood swings more manageable.
Creating a Calm Environment
Minimizing noise and distractions is another option available for people who are looking for what helps with dementia mood swings.
When a person has dementia loud noises including background noises from a TV or radio might be too much to handle.
An open space or glaring light may make an individual feel insecure or unsafe. Creating a peaceful environment might help to lessen mood swings that are primarily caused by overstimulation.
Putting on relaxing music or even building a sound machine can help promote a restful mood.
Ensure that the lighting around the living areas is soft and pleasant.
Assessing Physical Needs and Comfort
If a person who has dementia is uncomfortable and they cannot express it, it can trigger mood swings.
It is, therefore, important to ensure the individual is not too cold or hot by adjusting clothing and room temperatures as deemed necessary.
Check to see that the person is not hurt, hungry, thirsty, and is sleeping well.
Keeping track of the number of trips to the bathroom might also help in case a person wants to go and they do not even realize it.
If an individual becomes anxious and irritable, try and change the subject by gently introducing happy memories, asking about a loved one they are fond of, or playing an interesting song or home video.
Redirection can prove to be very helpful when it comes to ending an outburst.
It is, therefore, vital to have the tools and ideas ready so that they can be easily accessed when needed.
Lots of patience is needed when exploring options carers need in regards to what helps with dementia mood swings.
Dementia may make a person argumentative and angry. At this point, avoid being confrontational, but try and acknowledge their frustrations.
Avoid correcting a person even when they are wrong.
Caregivers are supposed to support and recognize the emotions and the realities of the suffering person regardless of how “unrealistic” they may be.
Taking care of a person who has dementia and is experiencing mood swings can be quite challenging and draining.
Caregivers need to take breaks and get all the support they need so that they can be energized to properly look after their loved ones.
There are plenty of local support groups one can join to interact with other people who are in similar situations.
Support groups are a great place to discuss what works when it comes to what helps with dementia mood swings.