Caregivers who provide daily assistance to individuals afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease sometimes encounter challenges as the condition progresses. Some patients go through a phase in which they become restless and easily agitated. They may feel a strong urge to wander away from the premises. This compulsion often occurs in patients who become lost in familiar surroundings. Now, recent research advances offer a promising way to alleviate this phase of the illness.
A Significant Academic Study
A new study sponsored by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine followed the condition of 43 seniors diagnosed with neurological diseases of dementia (including Alzheimer’s) over the course of several years. The principal researcher, Dr. Mariana Figueiro recently reported the quantity of light supplied to these patients during the day profoundly impacted them. Providing “tailored lighting” to ensure adequate light exposure during waking hours resulted in improvements in patient sleep patterns, a reduction in agitation levels, and an alleviation of depression.(1)
She noted the study found caregivers could positively impact these patients by changing the type of lighting exposure they received to control its intensity and duration. She predicts Alzheimer’s patients may eventually benefit from customized lighting “prescriptions”. The study reinforced for researchers the important connection between daylight and biological circadian rhythms.(1)
The study’s findings could perhaps explain why a significant percentage of seniors afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease sometimes experience agitation and a tendency to undertake long walks during a phase of their condition.(2) This compulsion often distresses family members who do not understand the basis for a loved one’s ceaseless pacing.(3) Some care centers have sought to protect seniors suffering from this form of dementia by establishing locked Alzheimer’s care wards and by building curving “endless” walkways shaped in the form of a circle or a figure eight.(4)
Possibly customized lighting adjustments might supply a powerful new tool to assist seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. This discovery could greatly benefit both the patients and their concerned loved ones. It represents a potentially significant advance in improving the daily quality of life for people with dementia.
Short Term Care
A. G. Rhodes Health & Rehab offers short-term senior care. Our recovery facility assists patients requiring temporary assistance after accidents or surgical procedures. We supply 24/7 care. Our staff follows new developments in patient care with interest!