What Do People With Dementia Think About?

Memory and emotional expressiveness are only two of the numerous brain functions that dementia can impair. That being said, these effects don't have the expected impact on the thoughts of those who are suffering from dementia.

A reduction in cognitive function that causes abnormalities in thinking, memory, behaviour, language, and other areas is referred to as dementia.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that over 55 million people worldwide suffer from dementia and that 10 million new cases of the illness are identified each year. About 60–70% of dementia cases are caused by Alzheimer's disease, which is the most prevalent kind of dementia.

People with dementia may find it challenging to communicate their experiences of living with the illness since dementia can have an impact on how they express themselves verbally and emotionally. Naturally, many family members may question what dementia patients think about and how it feels.

We'll discuss what is known about the thoughts that people with dementia may have in the sections that follow, along with some more crucial information about living with dementia.

Understanding the thought process of those with dementia

People love to think, which is possibly why you have probably ever lost yourself in an idea. And we have a lot on our minds!

Sometimes, we reflect on the current state of our lives. We think about our relationships with our partners, parents, kids, and friends. We consider everything on our daily or weekly to-do list as well as the events taking place in the world.

And occasionally, our minds stray into the past or the future. We remember the things we did, the people we spent time with, and the happy times we had when we were younger. We frequently consider, or even experience anxiety over, potential future events in our lives.

The majority of thoughts that people with dementia have are similar to those of others, including concerns for their loved ones' well-being, their own physical and emotional states, and other events that occur in their daily lives. However, 2023 research adds that the nature of dementia can also cause feelings of bewilderment, loneliness, and alienation.

Their mental processes may also be impacted by dementia, particularly memory, logic, and emotions.

An individual with dementia may have trouble remembering recent or former events and persons, which can impair their judgement when making judgements. It may make it difficult to move, speak, or express oneself, which may have an impact on how they interact with others and behave.

Are people with dementia aware of their condition?

Since dementia is a degenerative condition, its symptoms will progressively get worse over time.

A person with dementia is probably conscious of the onset of symptoms in the early stages of the illness. They may discover that it's getting harder for them to recall recent occurrences or to carry out activities they've been doing for years.

However, as dementia worsens, particularly into the medium and late stages, those who suffer from it typically aren't aware that they have it.

Rather, they may see that things are challenging and unusual, but they are unable to identify or clarify why. Anxiety, irritation, and distress might result from believing that everything is normal but that the people around them are acting strangely.

Do dementia patients see things differently?

Vision is not directly impacted by dementia. However, in addition to dementia, several medical disorders including glaucoma, cataracts, or macular degeneration can also induce a variety of visual abnormalities, including:
  • vision problems, particularly when focusing on small objects
  • loss of vision in specific eye regions
  • seeing less clearly in dimly lit areas
  • difficulty differentiating between various colours
  • decreased awareness of motion and depth
  • variations in eye motions, including fast eye movements


Why do those with dementia tend to have strong emotional reactions?

Damage to a variety of brain regions, including those involved in the processing and control of emotions, leads to dementia. As a result, individuals suffering from dementia frequently exhibit far more intense emotional responses than usual.

You may notice that your loved one expresses their feelings more intensely than normal if they are suffering from dementia. They could have mood swings, quickly changing from being interested and serene to irritated and dissatisfied. You may observe an increase in their aggression, hurt, or meanness compared to before.

Although witnessing a loved one go through these emotional and behavioural shifts might be upsetting, it's crucial to understand that it's not a decision they're making.

Dementia physically alters the brain, which causes many of these changes. In addition, dementia itself can be frightening, perplexing, and unpleasant. Sometimes, particularly in the latter stages of the illness, these feelings are the only means by which a person suffering from dementia may communicate their needs.

Supporting loved ones with dementia

It's critical that everyone involved—from the individual with dementia to family members and close friends—gets the support they require if you have a loved one suffering from dementia.

Your loved one will probably require assistance with everyday care as the illness worsens, particularly in the final phases of the illness. Support is also beneficial to family members and carers, whether it takes the form of an extra helping hand or expert mental health assistance.

To support you and your loved one, here are some of our best resources for you to check out:
  • An Aid for Carers in Comprehending Dementia
  • Coping with an Alzheimer's-Affected Family Member
  • Your Comprehensive Guide to Providing Alzheimer's Disease Care
  • Finding a Support Group for Alzheimer's


Every aspect of a person's life, including their thoughts, feelings, and interactions with others, can be impacted by dementia. Furthermore, even though connection and a sense of autonomy are two things that everyone wants, dementia patients may react to or express these needs differently due to their illness.

If someone you know has been diagnosed with dementia recently, you might want to get in touch with their care team to find out more about the resources that are available to you.


What do people with dementia feel?

Overreact to things, have rapid mood changes or feel irritable.

Do dementia patients know they are confused?

A person suffering from dementia could be conscious of and irritated by the changes that are occurring, such as trouble remembering recent events, making decisions, or understanding what other people have said. 

Can people with dementia feel love?

Alzheimer's disease does not change a person's need for love and affection

Can a person recover from dementia?

There is currently no "cure" for dementia

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