Sleep disturbances in older adults with AD are common and are the result of numerous factors including normal and pathological changes in the aging brain, environment factors, medical or psychiatric morbidity, and medication side effects. Because of the multifaceted nature of sleep disturbances and fragility of older adult patients with dementia, nonpharmacologic interventions are recommended as the first-line treatment modality. Pharmacologic agents can useful, but medication selections should be made cautiously and take into account potential adverse events need to be considered as part of the diagnostic and treatment planning.
Rita Hargrave, MD, is a geriatric psychiatrist at the Martinez VA Outpatient Mental Health Clinic in Martinez, California.
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