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  1. Smith, Marianne MS, ARNP, CS
  2. Buckwalter, Kathleen PhD, RN, FAAN


OVERVIEW: Seemingly simple adjustments in care routines and approaches can make a significant difference in the experiences of people with dementia. This article provides an overview of cognitive impairment in older adults and suggests interventions that can help providers understand the "behavioral symptoms" of dementia, which are often considered a way of communicating unmet needs. By focusing on the person rather than on the disease, nurses promote comfort and functional autonomy in older adults whose cognitive impairments have progressed and yet who are very much alive and deserving of respectful, dignified care.