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International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Volume 2010, Article ID 906818, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2010/906818
Review Article

Methods to Enhance Verbal Communication between Individuals with Alzheimer's Disease and Their Formal and Informal Caregivers: A Systematic Review

1School of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8M5
2School of Audiology and Speech Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z3
3Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l'Île, Montréal, QC, Canada H1A 2T7
4Department of Speech-Language Pathology, University of Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 1V7
5Communication Function Laboratory, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 2A2

Received 4 September 2009; Revised 24 January 2010; Accepted 21 March 2010

Academic Editor: Ricardo Nitrini

Copyright © 2010 Mary Egan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia in older adults. Although memory problems are the most characteristic symptom of this disorder, many individuals also experience progressive problems with communication. This systematic review investigates the effectiveness of methods to improve the verbal communication of individuals with Alzheimer's disease with their caregivers. The following databases were reviewed: PsychINFO, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, REHABDATA, and COMDIS. The inclusion criteria were: (i) experimentally based studies, (ii) quantitative results, (iii) intervention aimed at improving verbal communication of the affected individual with a caregiver, and (iv) at least 50% of the sample having a confirmed diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. A total of 13 studies met all of the inclusion criteria. One technique emerged as potentially effective: the use of memory aids combined with specific caregiver training programs. The strength of this evidence was restricted by methodological limitations of the studies. Both adoption of and further research on these interventions are recommended.