Pilot test of a six-week group delivery caregiver training program to reduce sleep disturbances among older adults with dementia (Innovative practice)

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The purpose of the pilot program was to examine the adaptability and feasibility of a modified group-delivery sleep education program (NITE-AD) designed to reduce nocturnal disturbances in community-dwelling older adults with dementia. We recruited seven caregivers of persons with dementia from two adult day care centers in South Florida into a six-week group program at adult day care centers. A trained sleep educator taught caregivers about the impact of aging and dementia on sleep and how non-pharmacological interventions such as increasing light, regular exercise, and sleep hygiene strategies can improve sleep in persons with dementia. The curriculum incorporated ongoing problem solving and goal setting. Results suggest improvement in caregiver depression and persons with dementia sleep problems. Caregivers reported that the program provided them support and valuable strategies that they will continue to apply. Educating caregivers in a group setting about non-pharmacologic strategies for managing sleep may reduce caregiver burden and improve sleep among persons with dementia.

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