What treatment approaches are best to treat a combination of apathetic and agitated behaviors? The answer may be the key to preserving quality of life in older adults with dementia.
This research was an examination of two specific types of behaviors, apathy and agitation, that commonly occur in older adults with dementia. In a retrospective analysis of existing data from two intervention projects, the authors explored the times and the types of behaviors occurring in 141 older adults living in the community, assisted living, and nursing home settings. The occurrence of apathetic and agitated behaviors was monitored throughout the day for a 2-week period. The result of the analysis suggests that in all stages and settings, a combination of apathy and agitation is the most common phenomenon, and that the predominant behavior actually fluctuates during the course of the day. The use of individualized interventions based on carefully monitored behavior patterns may provide a more sensitive approach to the overall treatment needs of individuals with dementia in the future.