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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1986 Oct;34(10):711-21.

Agitated behaviors in the elderly. I. A conceptual review.


Agitation is a significant problem for the elderly, their families, and their caretakers. Although much of the literature on agitation is pharmacologic in nature, several papers demonstrate demographic and environmental approaches to the problem. The literature review accentuates the gaps in both assessment and knowledge of the phenomenon. A conceptual framework and a rigorous methodology need to be developed for studying agitation. On these bases, research could explore the manifestations of agitation and the frequency of occurrence, predisposing factors for agitation, precipitating factors which trigger agitation, consequences of agitation for the elderly and for their caretakers, and the efficacy of alternative interventions. This paper proposes a definition of agitation and develops an initial conceptual framework in which to examine it.

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