Nearly all persons with dementia will exhibit behavioral and psychological symptoms (BPSD) at some point during the course of the disease. These symptoms often pose significant challenges for formal and informal caregivers, and their treatment is unclear. Current guidelines recommend implementing nonpharmacological interventions as the first-line approach to managing BPSD. Given the recent proliferation of research evaluating the use of nonpharmacological interventions for BPSD, there is a continuing need to reevaluate and synthesize the findings in this area. The current review examines the evidence for using psychosocial and environmental strategies, focusing on the past 3 years of research efforts and assessing how this research augments what is known from prior reviews. We conclude that the results in the recent literature concerning the efficacy of psychosocial and environmental treatment approaches to behavioral symptoms in dementia continue to be promising, yet results are also mixed. We recommend the consideration of music therapy and tailored activities when utilizing a nonpharmacological approach, as these appear particularly promising throughout the literature. We also find that multisensory stimulation and animal-assisted therapy warrant further evaluation. In contrast, in this and previous reviews, approaches such as bright light therapy and aromatherapy have consistently been shown to be ineffective and, thus, cannot be recommended with confidence based on the evidence. We discuss limitations of current research studies and make recommendations for future research in the area of psychosocial and environmental interventions for BPSD.
- Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Clinical Psychology