“It can be overlooked because people with apathy seem less disruptive and less engaging, but it has a huge impact on the quality of life of people living with dementia, and their families.
“Where people withdraw from activities, it can accelerate cognitive decline and we know that there are higher mortality rates in people with apathy. It’s now time this symptom was recognised and prioritised in research and understanding.”
Professor Clive Ballard said: “Our research shows just how common apathy is in people with dementia, and we now need to understand it better so we can find effective new treatments.
“Our WHELD study to improve care home staff training through personalised care and social interaction included an exercise programme that improved apathy, so we know we can make a difference. This is a real opportunity for interventions that could significantly benefit thousands of people with dementia.”