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The Problem of Apathy
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
There is an under valued negative symptom of dementia; it is apathy. When a person becomes unable to think up something pleasurable to do and/or lacks ability to organize it, the person does little to nothing. This is a major cause of negative behaviors due to boredom and fear. The person may become restless, wander, rummage, pace or become short tempered merely for lack of structure. This puts a big burden of responsibility on the caregivers to do it for him or her. 
Of course, as I've reiterated many times, an adult day program is a wonderful resource for structure for the person with dementia and respite for the caregiver. There will be resistance to this offering as most often the person with dementia doesn't feel he needs anything, and balks at what he feels is for babies. It takes a caregiver who 'thinks outside the box' to devise a way to introduce this resource. It may to simply to take the person there and let the staff make him feel welcome. Some have made it to be a job, a volunteer position, or a club to make the idea more acceptable. 90% of the time the person ends up loving it; it is the initial resistance due to fear that is hard to overcome. But...try it!
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