Journal of Gerontological Nursing 40:58-65, 2014. PMCID: PMC4281275
Apathy, a reduction in goal-directed behavior (GDB), aff ects 90% of individuals with behavioral variant frontotemporal degeneration, which is a common cause of early onset neuro-degenerative disease. The cognitive and neural impairments associated with apathy make it diffi cult to initiate, plan, and self-motivate activities toward a specifi c goal, such as dressing or bathing. These impairments are associated with signifi cant decline in functional ability, caregiver burden, and increased cost of care due to early institutionalization. The current article reviews the evidence suggesting that apathy arises from the in-terruption of one or any combination of three GDB processes: initiation, planning, and motivation. From this perspective, three subtypes of apathy related to dysfunction at the level of GDB and the corresponding neuroanatomy are explored. Fur-ther research is required to confi rm and measure these sub-types of apathy for use in clinical and research settings. A more precise classifi cation of apathy by subtype will allow implemen-tation of the most appropriate person-centered, individualized therapy.