It is not uncommon for those who have dementia to stop smiling — a symptom that is about more than just mood. It may be an actual, physical problem — a muscular impairment that makes smiling much more difficult, if not impossible. This is a dementia symptom that caregivers may not be aware of, but it’s worth spending some time considering.
Why is it that smiling becomes so difficult for the dementia patient, exactly? It essentially has to do with the disconnect between mind and body. The muscles “forget” how to carry out routine movements, and in some cases, this might even include smiling.
Another reason for the decrease in smiling is that those who have dementia may also lack in certain kinds of social awareness. As such, the sorts of interactions that might normally trigger a smile simply fail to register.
Both of these factors can vary from one person to the next, and it’s entirely possible that your loved one with dementia will continue to smile just like normal. If you do observe a decrease in smiling, though, keep these things in mind:
- You shouldn’t take it personally. Your loved one is not being surly; it is a medical decline, not a conscious choice not to smile.
- You also shouldn’t assume that your loved one is unhappy or no longer has any capacity for good feelings. Just because a physical smile isn’t there, that doesn’t mean there is sadness on the inside.
- Finally, remember that smiling impairment can sometimes be temporary. You may yet see your loved one start to grin again!
The lack of smiling can be disheartening — but keep in mind that this is a normal symptom of dementia. Get the help you need in understanding dementia — and caring for your loved one — by contacting CountryHouse today.
Contact us today to learn more about care options for your loved one with dementia.