A new study by researchers at The University of Western Australia aims to improve the quality of life for people with dementia or Alzheimer's disease as well as for their carers.
Lead researcher Michelle Hodge, a PhD student from UWA's School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, said researchers knew very little about sleep problems associated with dementia, and any relationship between these sleep problems and dementia symptoms.
"Our study is the start of a project that will look at different types of sleep disturbances and how they impact on other symptoms of dementia," Ms Hodge said.
"The results of this study may provide information on how to better manage not only sleep problems in those with Alzheimer's and dementia, but may also offer treatment for other related symptoms."
Ms Hodge said constant sleep problems could have a huge impact on a person's day-to-day life and had been related to depression, cognitive problems, functional impairments in daily living and treatment response.
"Sleep problems and other symptoms of dementia such as depression and agitation are commonly cited reasons for admission to hospital or nursing homes as carers struggle to cope," she said.
"The results of this study may not only improve the quality of life for people with dementia but also the people who care for them. Keeping people out of hospital and nursing homes as long as possible also has an economic benefit, especially with the predicted increased rates of dementia as our ageing population grows."
Ms Hodge said people diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia, and their carers, were invited to participate in the study by completing a questionnaire on sleep. Contact Michelle Hodge on 9347 6402.