The Effect of Ambient Bright Light Therapy on Depressive Symptoms in Persons with Dementia
Article first published online: 18 OCT 2007
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume 55, Issue 11, pages 1817–1824, November 2007
How to Cite
Hickman, S. E., Barrick, A. L., Williams, C. S., Zimmerman, S., Connell, B. R., Preisser, J. S., Madeline Mitchell, C. and Sloane, P. D. (2007), The Effect of Ambient Bright Light Therapy on Depressive Symptoms in Persons with Dementia. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 55: 1817–1824. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2007.01428.x
- Issue published online: 29 OCT 2007
- Article first published online: 18 OCT 2007
- nursing homes;
- assisted living
OBJECTIVES: To assess the effect of ambient bright light therapy on depressive symptoms in persons with dementia.
DESIGN: A cluster-unit crossover intervention trial involving four lighting conditions: morning bright light, evening bright light, all-day bright light, and standard light.
SETTING: The common areas of two geriatric units in a state-operated psychiatric hospital in North Carolina and in a dementia-specific residential care facility in Oregon.
PARTICIPANTS: Sixty-six older adults with dementia.
INTERVENTION: Ambient bright light therapy was delivered through a high-intensity, low-glare lighting system installed in the public areas of study units at both sites. Each lighting condition was provided for multiple 3-week periods in a predetermined sequence.
MEASUREMENTS: Staff caregivers completed the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia (CSDD) in the last week of each 3-week period to provide information about participants' moods.
RESULTS: Analysis indicated a sex-by-treatment interaction (P=.008). Significant sex differences were found in CSDD scores in response to evening light (P=.003), all-day light (P=.001), and standard light (P≤.001). Depressive symptoms were lowest for women and highest for men during morning light.
CONCLUSION: Findings do not support the use of ambient bright light therapy as a treatment for depressive symptoms in persons with dementia, although a subpopulation of persons with dementia may benefit from this intervention. It is likely that individual rather than unit-level interventions are a more effective strategy for delivering bright light therapy for this population.