Dementia is a devastating disease. The characteristic problems with memory, thinking, language and judgment are a challenge, but there are also “behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia” (BPSD), including agitation, aggression, wandering, resistance to care, delusions, hallucinations and repetitive speech. These symptoms can be very upsetting for people with dementia as well as their loved ones, and are often the reason people are admitted to long-term care (1).
How do caregivers cope with these challenging behaviours? Often, doctors prescribe medications including antipsychotics, antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs to help calm patients, but there are problems associated with drug use including side effects that can lead to serious health issues (2,3,4). Recent evidence recommends a shift in the way we manage challenging symptoms of dementia, valuing non-drug approaches that calm and reassure people as a first treatment step.
What works best? Try one – or all – of these 3 non-drug approaches for people with dementia, supported by recent high quality research. Click on the titles for more information and to read the research summaries.
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