An old man smiling while having a conversation with a woman who is shown from a backside angle

Understanding Apathy in People with Dementia

Apathy is a common symptom of dementia, yet it is often overlooked in care planning. Knowing how to identify and manage apathy is important. This overview aims to assist in understanding how apathy affects people living with dementia and how carers can respond.

Apathy is when a person loses interest in what is going on around them. They can also lose interest in other people. This appears as a lack of motivation or that the person is just not ‘getting started’. It can be hard for carers to understand what is happening and this can be frustrating as it can look like the person is just not ‘making an effort.’ The ability of people with dementia to initiate activities of living is closely linked with carer wellbeing so addressing apathy is important for everyone.