Loses initiative and interest in many things

  All Alzheimer's Symptoms

When it happens Mild-stage dementia

Why it happens Apathy or a loss of motivation is a direct result of brain changes. As many as half of all people with dementia show signs of it early on, and it tends to intensify as the disease progresses.

What you can do

  • Don't take it personally or try to coax someone to "snap out of it." This is a common personality change brought on by the disease itself.

  • Find ways to make continued participation in previous activities possible; simplify card games or hobbies, for example.

  • Encourage social outings.

  • Encourage exercise, which can have a mild effect against apathy.

  • Structure the day so that the person doesn't sit alone for long hours.

  • Be watchful for symptoms of depression. Apathy is not the same, but the two often occur together. Depression tends to be accompanied by sadness and hopelessness. People with dementia who show apathy are more emotionally detached and neutral. But unlike those with depression, they're also still capable of finding joy and happiness in some areas of life.

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