Lifting apathy

From the February/March 2017 issue of our magazine, supporting a person with dementia to remain involved, active and confident when they’re finding things difficult can be a challenge. Online support from others who understand can help, says Dementia together magazine.

How to support someone who is struggling

A woman supporting another.

Feeling apathetic, uninterested or withdrawn can be a symptom of dementia, or it can be a sign that a person with the condition is struggling to cope. It may be difficult to identify, and a carer or family member might not know how to help.

As it gets more difficult to remember things, it can become exhausting to enjoy books or films that have complex plots. It could also be harder to leave the familiar home environment or to continue with hobbies or interests. As a result, a person with dementia might lose confidence and become withdrawn.

On Talking Point, our online community, people can ask questions and get support on how to live well with dementia and how to help others.

Support and ideas

People in the earlier stages of dementia have received support and reassurance after asking other Talking Point members whether it is normal to feel apathetic or to struggle with tasks.

'It could be helpful to make a task simpler, or to do it along with them so they can join in rather than feel under pressure to complete it on their own.'

Carers have discussed how to support a person with dementia to keep active as their symptoms progress. Suggestions from other carers include adapting routines or activities to suit the person.

It could be helpful to make a task simpler, or to do it along with them so they can join in rather than feel under pressure to complete it on their own.

This can make a particular difference with practical activities like cooking or painting.

Good days and bad

Some Talking Point members say it helps to identify good days when a person with dementia can do more with a bit of gentle encouragement, but to recognise tougher times when they will appreciate rest and reassurance instead.

Others stress the importance of keeping the symptoms of dementia in mind – rather than choosing to not do something, they might not have remembered how to complete a task, and this could be a sign that their dementia has progressed.

By speaking to other people in similar situations, Talking Point members can ask questions, suggest things that may be helpful and share their experiences with others who understand how they are feeling.

Next steps

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