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AJN, American Journal of Nursing:
FEATURES: A New Look at the Old

BEHAVIORS ASSOCIATED WITH DEMENTIA: Whether resisting care or exhibiting apathy, an older adult with dementia is attempting communication. Nurses and other caregivers must learn to ‘hear’ this language.

Smith, Marianne MS, ARNP, CS; Buckwalter, Kathleen PhD, RN, FAAN

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Abstract

OVERVIEW: Seemingly simple adjustments in care routines and approaches can make a significant difference in the experiences of people with dementia. This article provides an overview of cognitive impairment in older adults and suggests interventions that can help providers understand the “behavioral symptoms” of dementia, which are often considered a way of communicating unmet needs. By focusing on the person rather than on the disease, nurses promote comfort and functional autonomy in older adults whose cognitive impairments have progressed and yet who are very much alive and deserving of respectful, dignified care.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved.

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