What does it feel like to have dementia?

A person with dementia can feel confused. When they get something wrong they may feel annoyed and angry. They might feel upset with other people too. They may not know they are upset and can't descibe why they feel like that.

Everyone feels confused sometimes. It’s the feeling you get when things don’t make sense, or you don’t know what you should be doing.

If someone seems angry with you, it can feel horrible. Remember that it’s not your fault, and it’s not their fault. It happens because the person’s brain is not well. They may not be able to control how they feel any more. They may not know they are upsetting you.

People with dementia can still have nice feelings too. They can feel happy, safe and calm. Some people with dementia may seem like their usual self a lot of the time and you may only notice small changes every now and then.

Some people with dementia may not have as many good days. Those days when they do feel more like their old self can be very special.

Everyone with dementia is different. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If the person you know has not been ill for very long, they may be able to tell you what dementia feels like for them. A person who has had dementia for longer may not be able to tell you how they feel. But you can often see when they are feeling happy, safe and calm.


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This information was updated in November 2021 and is due for review in November 2023. Please contact us if you would like a version with references.