Agitation in Elderly Persons: An Integrative Report of Findings in a Nursing Home
Jiska Cohen-Mansfield a1a2, Marcia S. Marx a1a2andPerla Werner a1a2 a1 Research Institute of the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, Rockville, Maryland, U.S.A. a2 Center on Aging, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, U.S.A.
Agitated behaviors in the nursing home pose a major problem for caregivers. Our data showed that the three syndromes of agitation—aggressive behaviors, physically nonaggressive behaviors, and verbally agitated behaviors—are differentially related to medical and psychosocial variables. Physically nonaggressive behaviors may be adaptive for a resident who presents a deteriorated stage of dementia, since these behaviors offer stimulation and exercise. Verbally agitated behaviors may be a form of help-seeking behaviors for residents with physical disease and depressed affect. Aggressive behaviors are those least understood, although these behaviors correlate with advanced stages of dementia and with poor interpersonal relationships. These findings should be a basis for further studies, with the ultimate goal being improved care for agitated elderly persons.