Passive Behavior and Early Dementia

5 Behavior Changes of Early Dementia

Have you noticed passive, "onlooker" behavior creeping into your loved one? A gradual passivity is a hallmark of early dementia. How it manifests depends on the person, and it can be a slow process.

Some common examples:

1. A planner may begin to defer more to others.

You may notice: The person messes up or postpones making vacation plans, for example.

2. A social leader may act more reclusive.

SEE ALSO: Find Memory Care Near You

You may notice: Someone who loved to go out or initiate activities begins making excuses about why he or she would rather not do anything.

3. A "do-er" may seem less certain about what to do next.

You may notice: More hesitancy or the person taking more time to get plans off the ground.

4. The early bird starts to be late.

You may notice: The person who got taxes done early never gets around to doing them, or the person who signed up for programs and activities on the first day seems to put it off, unable to muster the initiative.

SEE ALSO: Find Memory Care Near You

5. The equal partner becomes clingy.

You may notice: The person who once stood his or her own ground at parties or bridge games suddenly sticks closer to your side.

Losing drive and initiative can be a slow process, so these changes might not seem obvious. People often don't think to link them to the memory and thinking changes also taking place because of dementia; they may misinterpret passivity as rudeness or another change in personality. If you haven't noticed this change yet, just know to keep an eye out for it.


about 2 years ago, said...

This is something that I, myself, have been doing. I was always the party-planner and ready to gather people together for the simplest of reasons. Now I just don't seem to want to be bothered with the planning, phone calls, etc. I'm really comfortable just sitting back and letting someone else do things.


over 3 years ago, said...

An interesting note that I learned today: was at the audiologist with my mother and the doctor hooked up my myother's hearing aids to the computer to see how they were doing. The doctor noticed that's mother was only using her hearing aids 5-6 hrs a week. The doctor explained to us that if my mother is not hearing for most of her day because she is not wearing her aids, then she will naturally start to withdraw into her own world. My mother is visually impaired too, so she was at great risk for withdrawal from the world. She promised the doctor she would wear her aids most of the day and this will train her brain to accept noises that are every day instead of some of the white noise she hears without the aids. It makes sense.


over 3 years ago, said...

I think this is just an advertisement for assisted living places, because the symptoms can apply to nearly EVERY aging person, and even to young people. These are also symptoms of depression and of an oncoming cold or flu. What is worse, is that by thining the symptoms are mental, that can prevent getting checked out for heart problems.


over 3 years ago, said...

Its people like you who make their kids think they are loosing it. Did you ever think they are just tired after a lifetime of hard work. . Your body can't do what you did when you were young.


over 3 years ago, said...

This is happening to me.


over 3 years ago, said...

We often live our lives insularly...unable to see outside of ourselves. Thankfully, I'm aware of this and will keep in mind to remember to just try to stand outside of myself from time to time for the occasional 'reality' check..to see if these slow changes are appearing in my own life. I just betcha that when these slow-occurring changes do take place, they're like 'whammo!' - just like a blast out of hell/a freak - and can cause sudden and maybe catastrophic occurrences. Thanks for the ongoing articles that pertain to our lives.


over 3 years ago, said...

It was a reminder to me that I must not judge him. When he does something that wouldn't have been done by the person I know, I need to understand that he can't help his actions. I have to accept that the person I have known so well is no longer the same and cannot help what he does.


over 3 years ago, said...

My mother is 87. She is legally blind and has a-fib. She is very hard of hearing too. She is a passive on-looker because its difficult for her to engage in conversation unless it is one on one. She can't see the person's face we'll and can't hear well either - even with her hearing aides in. I don't know if she would be showing these symptoms if she had her eyesight and hearing senses. But her world is closing in around her. She is really only comfortable in her own home and she gets around well there. She doesn't get involved in discussion much anymore with anyone. She is passive now and that was never her nature. Don't know what to think.


almost 4 years ago, said...

I thought this was just part of her personality. Do I try to alter this or do I just go with the flow.?


almost 4 years ago, said...

Yes....I'm the one having these symptoms, am a widow, living alone with my lil' Boston Terrier....Am also an EMT....Need to see if I should be thinking about living in an assistted living arrangment....no family around....Work as a television personality, also - part-time at the local mortuary. At times can not remember where I put something - or the name of someone or thing....It troubles me....My Doctor says 'that I'm just SO busy with all I do in my life' and not to worry....But I live in this body, and I am concerned....Thank you for your time....


over 4 years ago, said...

I swear I'm the person in the mirror of this story .i didn't come about subtly back in '85....abd i've improved a long way since then......but sometimes I just plain get discouraged when I see my husband living down to the list of symptoms for declining intelligent these past 36 yes.i think I was too busy to notice disturbing signs way back in the beginning of our relationship,but he;s worked way too hard to degrade MY health and efforts to do my life and needs with any effeciency. I requested that he schedule with the VA for the MCDtests (as to which /I'm still waiting.) to just ease my mind of where HE is heading. If I have to be his caregiver,I need time to prepare,because even the normal life he lives is very terse and stressful for me.I can only imagine how worse it would become.yuck. thanks for listening.


over 4 years ago, said...

Awareness of behaviors that may happen with a loved one.


over 4 years ago, said...

My husband's neurologist and Carring.Com's signals confirm his Early Onset symptoms. This article served to confirm his Stage once again. Thank you.


over 4 years ago, said...

Just more confirmation of progression. It's getting to the point that I worry about being able to provide all the care that's needed.


over 4 years ago, said...

Slow to take initiative, not wanting to take any risks;avoiding names recall and generalising everything I fear the demensia is indicative in such behaviour.


almost 5 years ago, said...

I concur, I'm the "patient" and I have already experienced #1 thru #3 behavior. I have not yet been late, to contrary, I'm the first to arrive.


almost 5 years ago, said...

I've experienced this behavior in my family.


almost 5 years ago, said...

the equal partner becomes clingy


about 5 years ago, said...

I'm happy to report I don't have any of those symption at this time. I appriciate these emails, since I'm the "patient". :)


about 5 years ago, said...

Many people have seen this as being rude because they don't recognize the change since it is subtle. It is actually a defense mechanism - fear of failure.


about 5 years ago, said...

Knowing there are other things happening that are 'normal' in the progression will make me more empathethic to my husband when I see this happening. Thank you.


about 5 years ago, said...

This is me to a T! What can I do to stop it happening?


about 5 years ago, said...

It was helpful to know that these signs in my husband are the norm for early Alzheimer's but his doctor has told me he is in the severe stage.


about 5 years ago, said...

My husband has a hard time recognizing the symptoms I am having. I can show him this and the other symptoms to try and educate him while I am able to.


about 5 years ago, said...

I see the changes in both taking a back seat to plan making and no longer being the first to arrive.