How to Read Emotional Responses in Someone With Severe Dementia

Sadness, joy, appreciation, fear -- emotions of many colors still register with your loved one. The difference: It's difficult now to express them. Just knowing that your loved one still experiences emotions can help make your time together more meaningful and help you improve his or her quality of life.

Watch closely, and you'll learn the patterns that are unique to your loved one. For example:

  • Are your loved one's eyes open wide or shut? Are they tracking you or looking away? Tearing up?

  • Are the teeth clenched, or is the mouth relaxed?

  • What's the nature of the sounds that are made during certain experiences? A distressed moan may come to sound different from a pleased one.

Many caregivers say they can see whole messages -- "Thank you," "I love you" -- written on the face, even if no longer uttered aloud.


over 2 years ago, said...

I was looking for teeth clinching and can't find it ????????


over 2 years ago, said...

No I do not find any use in this blurb. Actually it goes without saying that until the end (this is my second time through this horrid disease) many of the emotions are misconstrued. My Dad could never show pain, where my Mom can. My Dad showed more childish behavior and impish emotions than my Mom. Mom cries and stares with very blank eyes. Each person afflicted with Alzheimer's or dementia are all affected differently depending on the part of the brain affected. No this really was of no true use.


over 3 years ago, said...

Yes, communication continues even in late stages. I have become adept at reading body language, facial expressions, and sounds. There is still much communication between Mom and I though nearly never verbal... Her eyes are very expressive and speak volumes... Watch and you will understand most everything going on in there..... Hugs and prayers to all of us on this journey.....


about 4 years ago, said...

As always, this is good information. Reading the signs can be difficult at times but the longer you do it the better you get at it. Facial expressions, body language speak volumes.Even sitting quietly holding hands with no words spoken can be read as contentment. When sentences aren't spoken any more, in a primary language, a second language that was the primary language in childhood sometimes can be used and is more readily understood. Though, that will deteriate in time as well. Comprehension of the second language will get you through a bit longer, though speaking it by your loved one will go first, the comprension of it will continue somewhat. I have found that like with infants, if there is distress, it's just a matter of looking for what the distress is. Are they hungry, tired, cold, hot wet and so on. It really is easier than you may think. Their needs are simple and thinking along those lines makes it easier to figure out. To everyone out there in our situation, my heart goes out to you. As difficult as this can be, the precious memories will be what gets you through. Mom is very happy go lucky and Dad, God rest his soul was the polar opposite. As hard as it was, not being able to console him, EVER, I still have some very precious memories. Hang on and know that you are never alone. I'm always here and will continue to share my experiences and knowlege that i've gained by living it. Hugs to all...... Roger


over 4 years ago, said...

YES, THIS WAS VERY IMFORMATIVE, THANK YOU