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What to look for?

Following Instructions | Common Signs

  • Follows directions out of order
  • Does not follow the directions, so performs task incorrectly
  • Fails to complete a task after directions
  • Stops midway through a task because they cannot remember the next instruction, asks for instructions to be repeated
  • Cannot repeat back the instructions
  • Repeatedly performs one part of the instructions over and over
  • Failure to follow instructions puts their safety at risk
Following Instructions | General Description

Due to difficulties with attention, concentration, and memory , the person you care for may have difficulties understanding and following directions. Problems with attention and concentration make it difficult for the person you care for to listen to all the instructions without becoming distracted. This can result in the task being performed incorrectly or being left incomplete. As well, the instructions may be performed out of order when the person remembers all of the directions, but has difficulty concentrating when doing them. Memory impairments can cause the person you care for to forget an instruction during the task, to ask for the instructions to be repeated or forget the instructions altogether impairments. The inability to follow instructions can put the person you care for in danger. For example, if you instruct them to wait for you to help them get out of the tub, and they do so without you, they are in danger of slipping and falling.

People with Frontotemporal dementia are often highly distractible, meaning they have increasingly difficulty staying on task mentally. This severely limits their ability to learn new things and perform tasks that they had performed competently in the past.

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See Also:
Symptom Library > Behaviour > Repetitive Behaviour
Symptom Library > Thinking & Judgment > Unsafe Actions
Symptom Library > Thinking & Judgment > Attention/Concentration (lack of)
Symptom Library > Everyday Activities > Telephone Use
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Memory
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Last updated January 9, 2019
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