Background: Anxiety has a high prevalence among individuals with dementia, and it has a significant negative impact on their functioning; yet intervention studies are lacking. We developed Peaceful Mind, a cognitive-behavioral intervention for persons with dementia. In this paper, we describe the intervention and results of an open trial evaluating the feasibility and utility of the intervention and assessment procedures.
Methods: Peaceful Mind is implemented over a period of three months in the participant's home with involvement of a caregiver or “collateral.” Dyads are followed for an additional three months via telephone. An assortment of simplified skills is offered, including self-awareness, breathing, behavioral activation, calming thoughts, and sleep skills.
Results: Nine participants were enrolled, eight completed the three-month assessment, and seven completed the six-month assessment. Overall, participants and collaterals were satisfied with the intervention and reported that they benefited in terms of anxiety, depression, and collateral distress.
Conclusions: A randomized controlled trial would help determine whether this promising new treatment has a statistically significant impact on anxiety in this population.