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What to look for?

Interest/Initiative (lack of) | Common Signs

  • Shows less interest in daily tasks or activities (e.g. cooking, bathing, watching TV)
  • Requires prompting to start most tasks or activities (e.g. take a bath, water the flowers)
  • Is reluctant to participate in previously enjoyed activities (e.g. going for a walk, going out for dinner)
  • Initiates tasks or activities but does not complete them
  • Does not care about hygiene or personal appearance
  • Shows little interest in the lives of others
  • Shows little interest in current events
  • Is uninterested in events that are going on around them
  • Avoids making decisions
  • Complains of being bored; says there is nothing for them to do
  • Seems "vacant" or stares into space
  • Is less motivated as the day progresses
Interest/Initiative (lack of) | General Description

The person you care for may show a decreased interest in daily tasks and activities, even if it is a task or activity that they are able to perform. Often, they will even have little motivation to complete personal care tasks such as bathing grooming or dressing. They are reluctant to participate in recreational or social activities that they used to enjoy, and seem less inclined to do these things as the day progresses. The person you care for shows little or no interest in current events and is not interested in the lives of those around them. They spend a great deal of time sitting in a chair or in bed doing nothing and staring off into space.

People with Frontotemporal dementia often present as apathetic in the early stages . They will often withdraw from activities due to a loss of interest, or lack of motivation to complete a task. While memory remains intact, attention and interest are not present. Decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities is also a sign of depression . Decreased interest and initiative are also common in Lewy body dementia, and in most types of vascular dementia, as well as in Parkinson's disease dementia.

The first step in taking a more active role in symptom management is understanding how a symptom is affecting everyday life; the next step is communicating this knowledge to the care planning team and family members. SymptomGuideTM is designed with these goals in mind.

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See Also:
Symptom Library > Everyday Activities > Personal Care/Hygiene
Symptom Library > Thinking & Judgment > Decision Making
Symptom Library > Everyday Activities > Bathing
Symptom Library > Leisure Activities > Social Interaction/ Withdrawal
Symptom Library > Everyday Activities > Dressing
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Low Mood
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Motivation
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Last updated January 13, 2019
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