Did you know that up to 70% of people with dementia will eventually develop apathy? We may all lose our spark from time to time, but apathy is much more serious. Apathy causes an individual to have little to no motivation to do the things that once mattered to them and even activities that are part of personal care and hygiene. In this article, we share with you the link between dementia and apathy.
Understanding the Symptoms of Apathy
While it can be frustrating getting your loved one to do certain things, always remember that they did not choose to have apathy. With dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease, the frontal lobe of the individual’s brain is damaged, affecting their ability to plan and sequence tasks as well as causing their motivation levels to drop.
Below are some symptoms of apathy to watch out for:
- Lack of interest in completing routine tasks that affect health & wellness, such as getting a shower and brushing teeth
- Heavy reliance on other people to start up conversations and initiate activities
- Show little to no interest in most topics, including affairs that concern the individual themselves
- Appear disinterested or unattached to things going on around them, which can manifest in an unwillingness to engage in conversation and/or meet new people
- … and more!
Distinguishing Between Apathy and Depression
You may be thinking that the abovementioned symptoms sound eerily similar to those experienced by individuals with depression. As such, you may be having a hard time telling if your loved one is suffering from apathy and depression.
The distinguishing difference between the two is that with depression, your loved one will be in a low mood, experiencing feelings of sadness and hopelessness, and developing low self-esteem as a result. On the other hand, individuals with apathy will not show concern about their symptoms. However, that’s not to say that their symptoms aren’t affecting their quality of life in a negative way.
What Can You Do?
When it comes to dementia and apathy, the first approach to try would be non-medicinal. There is little evidence that antidepressants help dementia patients who are also struggling with apathy, and they can even make the situation worse.
Some treatment approaches you can consider include art therapy, music therapy, and cognitive stimulation delivered by a trained professional. These experts will know what to do to help your loved one get involved again, even if they find it challenging to play an active role in these activities.
Consider Senior Memory Care in a Beautiful Location
At TerraBella Hillsborough, we understand that caring for a loved one with dementia can be tough, especially if you lack the necessary expertise. We aim to be your partner in memory care, and you will find that our person-centered approach is exactly what your loved one needs. With fun and engaging activities designed to promote a sense of self-esteem, your loved one can thrive in a safe and welcoming environment.