Non-pharmacological interventions for managing dementia-related sleep problems within community dwelling pairs: A mixed-method approach

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Abstract

Dementia-related sleep problems can be complex and challenging. Environmental interventions which resynchronise the sleep/wake cycle have been trialled with promising results for people with dementia in institutionalised settings. However, there is less research concerning community-dwelling people with dementia and their family carers. This study involved a five-week feasibility study including timed light therapy, exercise and sleep education. Sleep and physical and mental functioning were measured at the beginning and end of the trial using objective measures, standardised questionnaires and structured participant feedback. Of 15 community-dwelling pairs who participated, nine completed the trial. The case studies presented here reveal that it is feasible for this population to use non-pharmacological interventions, with positive outcomes. However, there are also issues that can mask benefits or prevent compliance. The options for treating dementia are limited. Environmental interventions may help manage dementia-related sleep problems and further trials would be worthwhile to improve compliance and evaluate effectiveness.

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