Dementia and Mood

5 Mood Boosters for Someone With Severe-Stage Dementia
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Ever think, "Why do I bother?" If you find yourself wondering if your interactions with your loved one make any difference -- since so little seems to be remembered -- take comfort and inspiration from this 2010 University of Iowa study.

It that showed that in people with memory loss, warm feelings associated with a positive interaction -- a joke, a visit -- stick around long after the experience itself is forgotten. Even when the event is immediately forgotten, a better mood seems to persist for a day or longer. Sad emotions (as from a bad experience) last longest.

Some easy day-brighteners:

  • Go outside. Nature is restorative for people of any health status, research shows. You can wheel someone in a wheelchair to a back garden or the front porch. Or just open a window.

  • Bring nature indoors. On a sunny day, position your loved one in the warm rays (taking care sun doesn't hit the eyes, of course). Bring fresh flowers into the house. Or set up (or restock) a bird feeder where it can easily be watched.

    SEE ALSO: Find Memory Care Near You

  • Massage the skin. Wash your loved one's feet or hands in a sponge bath, and apply lotion with a pleasing scent.

  • Play favorite music more loudly than usual. Sometimes listening to nothing but a stirring opera or lively jazz, really surrendering to the music, can stir the soul.

  • Invite a pet over. Many people with severe dementia enjoy petting a dog or cat, or just watching it. Be sure it's a calm animal.


about 2 years ago, said...

Just the reminders -- I keep thinking that presence, touch, the sound of my voice, are what's needed, but these specifics are helpful.


over 2 years ago, said...

Mom was really getting grumpy and difficult to please a week or 2 ago. She hadn't been out of the house for a couple of weeks. It is had to help her to the care as her walking has deteriorated and the wheel chair is quit heavy and there are stairs. But then why shouldn't she be grumpy I need a bit of time outside and away from home too. It does help, everyone. We make a point of bringing flowers in for her. She fell asleep during the message but I really enjoyed it. Within minutes of turning on the old tunes Mom grew up with and she and Dad dated with she wants them turned off, and you can't get any louder without impairing those of us who have hearings hearing. She asks for her cat, who doesn't want to come into the livingroom, since I moved in with my dog. I put my cat on her lap and she doesn't pet him so that he will stay. She does enjoy her dogs and mine. The crazy lady's daughter


about 3 years ago, said...

always in mind


about 3 years ago, said...

I take care of my X-wife I know I don't have to but somehow she knows I'm there to take care of her. I don't have POA so there isen't much I can do but just be there. I miss her much


over 3 years ago, said...

I agree I have two labs and my wife loves to pat them. Her mood changes in 5 min


over 3 years ago, said...

All of those 5 ideas , Are absolutely correct . I'm so happy I read that. Way to go.


over 3 years ago, said...

suggestions for positive interactions


almost 4 years ago, said...

My mom is in a nursing home. I had to have her in one because I am single and could not meet her needs or afford in-home care as they are not (yet) Medicaid approved. It breaks my heart to have her there, but I visit every day, take her goodies and give as much love as I can.


almost 4 years ago, said...

Thanks.


almost 4 years ago, said...

I'm already doing most of these for my husband, but it's reassuring that doing what comes naturally for us is the right thing to do.


almost 4 years ago, said...

I was already doing some of this for my Mother and they are helpful.


over 4 years ago, said...

It reinforces that what I'm already doing is helpful to him. We have a little dog, a Poodle/Bichon, who he absolutely loves. This little creature has appointed herself as his alarm clock, and he waits for her to come to wake him up. Then, she comes out to me to announce that she did her job, that is, her actions do. She cuddles up with him on the couch several times a day. Yes indeed, animals are so helpful.


over 4 years ago, said...

I am always looking for ideas to divert Mom's focus from negative thoughts.


over 4 years ago, said...

To Jasper1954: I so agree with what you said about letting them eat whatever makes them happy. I used to spend alot of time cooking stuff I thought D would like and then get upset if he didnt eat it. Now I ask what he might like and sometimes he is able to say. But I always remind him that after he eats what is good for him then there will be ice cream with cake. Just like with a kid and it works most of the time. There will always be critics( you shouldnt give him so much sugar) but his physical health is good. His numbers are low where they should be so why shouldnt he be happy with what he eats?


over 4 years ago, said...

Thank you....I feel like I do the things I have read about. It is affirming and I am glad. It is never easy. I know "remember when" is not a good thing to say....I try not to. It is hard not to have some tears. Heart wrenching at times.


over 4 years ago, said...

a good reminder....


over 4 years ago, said...

Dad loves the 4 Boston Terriers we have. He loves to watch them play and when they come over for some of grandpa's sugar! They are very active and he loves it. They put on a show for him and cuddle with him as well.


over 4 years ago, said...

Yes. It educated me as to what I can offer my mother when I visit and what will be pleasant for her. The effect will linger on even though the memory will not.


over 4 years ago, said...

Thank you for these suggestions. I take my mom for a short walk in the afternoon, just half a block since she can still walk and providing the weather is good. Even if she doesn't remember family moves, I put some on and she questions who they are but when she sees herself, she remembers herself. Just a thought


over 4 years ago, said...

Realizing that some of these actions can change theur moods to happiness.


over 4 years ago, said...

When visiting my mom at the nursing facility, I try to take her outside to get a breath of fresh air, see the sunshine and it does have a positive effect on her. She seems to brighten up and be more alert of her surroundings. It's good to take your loved one outside and watch how much they respond.


over 4 years ago, said...

Helpful - The thought of washing my husband's feet with a pleasant scent. At the same time I remembered cutting his toe nails and massaging his feet, he loved that. I will take my time to do that for him. I am sure he will enjoy that. My gift to him.


almost 5 years ago, said...

k NOWING THAT JUST STAYING WITH DAD AND RUBBING HIM WITH LOTION COULD PLEASE HIM. HE CAN'T HEAR AND HAS MACULA DEGENERATION SO DOESN'T SEE WELL ALSO. SO i'M ON MY WAY TO GIVE HIM A RUB-DOWN. I SURE DO LOVE HIM. THANKS. ANY MORE ITEMS FOR HIS CONDITION (HEARING AND SEEING).


almost 5 years ago, said...

Just wanted to give a big thank you to those that gave me advice last week. Granny said to let my dad eat what he wants. If milky ways and cake make him happy, so be it. I made those homemade cookies and cake. He loves it. I made a cake for my husband and put his name on the plater and a plater for dad with his name on it (in big letters) dad can't eat nuts. He was very excited and thought it was so special that it had DAD on it! It made me feel great and burst into tears all at the same time......again thanks for all the reinforment and encouragement. I know I am not the only one who struggles, but many times you sure feel like it. God Bless Us All.


almost 5 years ago, said...

Just the reinforment that what I am doing should be helping my parent feel better. No new ideas, but still made me feel better to confirm.


almost 5 years ago, said...

I do all these things