One of the most disparaging things about dementia, is its ability to change an individual’s way of life. There are a lot of brave people who suffer with dementia daily and look to keep positive; but unfortunately the disease does erode cognitive ability & function. Dementia behavioural changes and dementia mood swings can be extremely common, particularly in the later stages of the condition. This can add extra frustration for people in care and additional pressures for those offering the care. Our latest blog looks at some of the principal causes of dementia mood swings, offering some combative advice on how to deal with them, as well as some stimulating activities for people with dementia.

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How Does Dementia Impact Personality?

Sadly, there can be many dementia behavioural changes which are imposed on people as they move through the different stages of the condition. The NHS have put together a useful guide, which documents just how wide-ranging some of these changes can be:

  • Loss of self-confidence – often people’s confidence can fall over the course of the disease. Whether it’s interacting with other people socially or completing various daily tasks.
  • Common Bursts Of Aggression – sufferers can feel an increased amount of agitation and may struggle to make sense of some of the things happening around them. When this occurs angry outbursts can happen, so it’s important to react in a compassionate manner.
  • Feelings Of Restlessness – another dementia behavioural change can be a strong feeling of restlessness or anxiety. Sufferers may find it hard to stay still and display more erratic behaviour throughout their daily routines.

Tips For Combating Dementia Mood Swings

No person or case is identical, but there are many ways carers can help reduce some of the problematic behaviours which dementia stimulates. In a busy care home environment, planning ahead and understanding what can be done to help improve someone’s daily routine is of significant value. People with dementia can very suddenly shift their viewpoint & general demeanour, it’s one of the ways dementia impacts personality. With this in mind, simply being reactional to people in care may not always be the optimum approach. Instead carers need to understand what has been planned out for each day and how the environmental influences which dementia sufferers come into contact with affect their general mood. Here are our top tips for helping to avoid dementia mood swings.

#1. Always Understand The Individual

Using your knowledge of the individual (their likes, dislikes & personal story) can be one of the most powerful tools a carer has. Over time carers become increasingly close to the people they look after, but this is exceptionally important for people with dementia. Carers should look to document the different situations someone positively & negatively responds to in the care environment. When the team collectively know what may trigger a bad turn of mood, then logical steps can be taken to ensure that the individual isn’t exposed as often to that trigger. Likewise, happy care receivers are much more consistent with their daily mood & outlook - therefore making sure people experience what they enjoy, can help individuals with dementia feel more balanced. It all comes down to keeping vigilant & trying to recognise what factors may be contributing to someone’s mood & behaviour.

#2. Make A Good Night’s Sleep A Priority

During the later stages of dementia, it can become more common that individuals sleep patterns become more disturbed & irregular. This in turn can have an adverse effect on the next day, as people feel more tired they are more likely to display uncharacteristic behaviour & erratic symptoms. Every effort should be made to assist dementia sufferers get a decent night’s sleep. Recommended actions could be making sure individuals get enough natural light & fresh air throughout the day. Additional care should also be taken to ensure rooms are the right temperature and that bedrooms are kept in a comfortable state for resting. If disturbed sleep is one of the dementia behavioural changes someone is regularly displaying, then also cutting down that person’s caffeine intake could also be helpful for their overall wellbeing.

#3. Keeping The Mind Active

Stimulating activities for people with dementia can help slow the progression of the disease, they can also add a sense of purpose & achievement into people’s general day. People can display distressed behaviour/challenging behaviour when they become bored & disinterested with some of the standard protocol which is necessary within a care environment. Try keeping them engaged with some of the following activities:

-  Indoor Gardening
-  Creating Picture Boards From Old Magazines & Newspapers
-  Playing Card Games
-  Having Fun With A Memory Box Of Items From An Older Era

We hope you found our latest blog post on dementia mood swings useful. If you would like a more detailed understanding of dementia in the care sector, check out some of our dementia training courses