Does your loved one's general mood seem a bit . . . blunted? Decreased emotion is a common early symptom of dementia. He or she may no longer be exuberantly happy about things that once brought joy -- or especially sad at other times. In fact, many families are startled when a loved one with dementia reacts to the diagnosis with little more than a shrug.
How can you react?
1. First, know that these mood changes are the direct result of the disease process (rather than just an emotional reaction to having the disease).
2. Try hard not to take apathy personally. You may bear the brunt of a blunted mood, but the reaction isn't to you any more than to having dementia.
3. Avoid pointing it out and getting on your loved one's case. ("Why aren't you happier? It's such a beautiful day.")
4. Better: Be empathetic. Avoid anger.
5. Continue to seek out activities that once brought pleasure (a visit from grandchildren, a drive in the country, watching sports, listening to music) and engage your loved one even if you don't get the same response you once did.
Learn more about how to tell if someone with dementia is depressed.