Learn About Emotions and Dementia


Many people become very emotional when they learn that they have dementia. The daily struggles of living with dementia can also trigger strong feelings.


People with dementia often experience:

  • Denial, not wanting to believe they have dementia or that the disease has affected them much

  • Anger, at the fact that they have dementia, at the symptoms or at people around them

  • Anxiety, about losing their independence, their memories and the people close to them

  • Guilt, because they need help or feel like a burden to others

  • Hurt, when others correct what they say or do

  • Humor, using laughter to relieve stress and cope with the situation

  • Sadness, at what they have lost or will lose

  • Depression, feeling overwhelmed by the disease and what it means for their life

  • Loneliness, feeling misunderstood or uncomfortable socializing with others

  • Acceptance, taking each day as it comes

  • Hope, that there will be good times or that researchers will find treatments or cures

The family and friends of people with dementia often have similar emotions, including denial, anger, frustration, resentment, sadness, anxiety and guilt.


These emotions can feel overwhelming, especially for those who regularly help and care for people with dementia. Taking even a little time "off" to do favorite activities can help these people stay healthy and avoid burning out.


Those close to people with dementia often feel good about helping the person. They may find meaning and pleasure in spending time with them, and learn new things about themselves.