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How do Alzheimer’s patients feel?

Someone with Alzheimer’s may feel anxious, agitated, depressed, frustrated, isolated, restless, and somewhat dependent. However, Alzheimer’s patients may feel lucky to have a supportive family, even grateful for what they still have.

Certainly, it depends on how the person can cope with having a fatal disease.

People who lack a good coping strategy are at high risk to suffer from comorbid depression.

In this article, the most common emotional reactions of Alzheimer’s patients will be discussed.

Maybe it grants some insight into how your beloved person is about to react.

Table of Content
What emotions do Alzheimer’s patients experience?
Are Alzheimer's patients happy?
Are Alzheimer’s patients depressed?
List of Resources
About the Author

What emotions do Alzheimer’s patients experience?

Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can be an emotional roller coaster. Someone can experience a wide range of emotions including feeling (1) fatigued, (2) depressed, (3) hopeless, (4) isolated, (5) happy, (6) grateful, (7) confused, (8) anxious, (9) frustrated, and (10) angry.

Depending on how many good days a patient experiences, the impact of Alzheimer’s on one’s emotional wellbeing varies.

Assuming one has a lot of good days, one might even feel happy and grateful for them.

However, experiencing a really bad day could result in depression and even grief.

Forgetting what a given task was, could confuse.

Besides, such smaller memory losses serve as a small reminder to have a deadly disease.

So there are cases, where patients might start even crying because they experience the shocking moment all over again.

In such a scenario, it is important to provide a safe, loving, and supportive surrounding.

Such emotional roller coasters make it extremely difficult for caregivers to provide proper care.

Taking care of an Alzheimer’s patient is demanding.

Are Alzheimer's patients happy?

Yes, Alzheimer’s patients can be happy. Even grateful for what they still have in their life. It mostly depends on how the individual can cope with the disease. Besides, a loving and supportive surrounding plays a major role, too.

Indeed, it is not uncommon that Alzheimer’s patients are happier than one might suspect.

Knowing to have a deadly disease can be an eye-opening encounter.

Just like it was for 65 years old Mike.

Mike was recently working as a broker in a well-known real estate company. Because of his symptoms, Mike qualified for social security disability.

Most of the time he feels just fine, subconsciously knowing that he has a neurodegenerative disease.

To friends and family, he described his transition as “From breadwinner to being somewhat dependent”.

Momentary he forgets a given task. This makes him sometimes frustrated.

However, his family is very supportive. Something that he describes as “being blessed with a wonderful wife and two very caring daughters”.

When being asked how he feels most of the day, his answer is “I feel happy. Happy to be loved, protected, and taken care of.”

His wife described her perspective as “Finally, I can take care of my husband, who took for years and years care of us”.

This story perfectly illustrates that even a breadwinner can fall back on a supportive surrounding.

Yes, it might seem like being dependent.

Yes, there might be the thought of becoming a burden.

However, it is still up to oneself to decide how to feel about something.

Be happy that someone takes care of you. Even more so, be grateful.

Are Alzheimer’s patients depressed?

Yes, Alzheimer’s patients can be depressed. Knowing to have a fatal disease with no cure can result in severe depression. Feelings that indicate someone with Alzheimer’s has depression include feeling fatigued, anxious, alone, or somewhat socially isolated.

Feeling depressed can be a normal reaction to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

What is not a normal reaction is to stay all day in bed.

Especially, staying more than one day in bed.

In case you observe your beloved one being somewhat anxious, down, or without energy then make an appointment with a therapist.

The therapist can help to identify a depression using Beck’s Inventory.

Depression is treatable. It is treatable in the elderly, too.

List of Resources

Patric Pförtner

B. Sc. Psychology

Hi, my name is Patric Pfoertner and I graduated 2020 from the NBU. Currently, I work and study in Germany. My specialisations are Cognitive Psychology paired with a good slack of Clinical Psychology. Just this year I started publishing my research in the CBB Journal. Feel free to read about it at ResearchGate. Otherwise, click the other button to read my full CV.

About Author ResearchGate

P.S.: I am available for psychological consultation, too.