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Rosemary Gibson

Doctor of Philosophy, (Psychology)
Study Completed: 2015
College of Health


Thesis Title
Understanding and Managing Dementia-Related Sleep Problems: Community-Based Research with Older New Zealanders

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Dementia is a progressive incurable brain condition. Disturbed sleep has been highlighted as a common and difficult symptom to manage. However, there is limited research amongst people affected by dementia living in their own homes. Ms Gibson presented four studies. The first two used pre-existing survey data to describe the sleep health of older New Zealanders. The third involved focus groups to understand the nature and personal experience of dementia-related sleep problems. In the final study, a five-week trial was piloted involving sleep education, light therapy and an exercise programme for people with dementia and their family carers. Overall, these studies illustrate the importance and diverse nature of sleep with ageing, dementia, and caregiving. Ms Gibson shows that non-pharmacological interventions can be used successfully by some dyads. She recommends that these low-risk interventions are considered by those affected by dementia and healthcare professionals, providing hope for improving the dementia pathway.

Professor Philippa Gander
Professor Tony Dowell
Dr Linda Jones

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