Medicine and Health Sciences


Dementia is a problem faced by many older adults both within in the United States and across the globe. With the growing elderly population, the diagnoses of dementia are also expected to rise. “In 2004, it was estimated that internationally there were 24.3 million people with dementia and that this number would double every 20 years to 81.1 million by 2040” (Hulme, Wright, Crocker, Oluboyede, & House, 2009, p. 756). Although there is no current cure for dementia, providers have worked to offer treatments that may alleviate symptoms. For patients who reside in nursing facilities, these symptoms are often managed with pharmacological interventions such as psychotropic medications. This has led to a problem with over-prescribing with more than 40% of dementia patients “taking psychotropic drugs, often inappropriately and usually with little subsequent monitoring.” (Holmes, Knights, Dean, Hodkinson, & Hopkins, 2006, p. 624). The over-use of medication introduces side effects that are dangerous or unfavorable for the individual.

People experiencing dementia often experience behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). It is estimated that “BPSD are experienced by 12% to 74% of patients with Alzheimer’s disease” (Yang, Wang, & Wang, 2016, p. 38), a common type of dementia. These behaviors can cause distress for both the individual and the caregivers. Recently, research has been conducted that looks into non-pharmacological interventions as safer and more effective options than medication. These types of interventions work to improve the well-being and quality of life for dementia patients without using medication. By teaching caregiver staff these types of interventions, research has found that residents in nursing facilities have had improved moods and behaviors across many scales (Deudon, Maubourguet, Gervais, Leone, Brocker, Carcaillon & Robert, 2009). The list of interventions is extensive, with each intervention providing a different level of relief for different behaviors. This paper seeks to explore the effectiveness of such interventions on the various behaviors that often accompany dementia.