What are Mood and Emotions?

Mood and emotions refer to how a person may be feeling. 

Mood generally refers to how a person is feeling over a longer period, while emotions generally describe a feeling at a particular time. A person with dementia may experience depression, anxiety, intense and/or rapid changes in their emotional responses leading to social withdrawal, apathy, loneliness, social isolation, and a loss of self esteem. Some display of emotions can change because of dementia. Smiling and laughter can decrease over time. 

In a gallery or museum program, the participant may lack facial expression during a program, and may not smile at humorous comments. They may watch other participants and the facilitator but have trouble actively engaging in the activity themselves. They might be disinterested in the art appreciation or art activity or withdraw from group conversation. Or, they may worry about how well they are doing or be critical of their own work. Some may show unexpected emotions like crying for unknown reasons.

This is important because as a facilitator you are likely used to reading a group’s engagement based on their participation, body language, facial expression and emotional displays. For a group of participants, your reading of their engagement will have to take your knowledge of dementia into account. You may see fewer signs of enjoyment than you anticipate, or you may see unexpected emotions during a program. Participation and engagement can sometimes look different in Artful Moments participants. We will explore the idea and reading of engagement in detail in Module 6: Engagement and Wellbeing.