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Study Background: Circadian rhythm disorders (CRDs) occur in over 60 percent of patients with dementia and are associated with increased morbidity and mortality and poor quality of life. Regulating the circadian system through the use of light and activity has been shown to alter core clock processes and suggests that activities delivered at strategic times may be an effective mechanism through which to entrain (or reset) disrupted circadian rhythms in persons with dementia. However, the nature and optimal timing of daily activities remains relatively unknown.
Methods: The object of this review is to examine the role of timed activities in regulating circadian activity in older adults living with dementia. A rapid review process was used to identify relevant research with the search terms circadian rhythm, timed activity, sleep, dementia, and other relevant combinations.
Results and Conclusions: Symptoms of CRD in older adults with dementia may be alleviated by participating in activities at their corresponding optimal time window. Future research needs to evaluate single and multiple activity interventions with emphasis on optimal timing to treat or mediate disrupted circadian patterns in older adults with dementia.