In the later stages of dementia, challenging behaviours in persons with dementia are common. These behaviours can include among others agitation, aggression, delusions and/or hallucinations, which are often a manifestation of distress experienced by the person. The cognitive impairment limits their ability to carry out desired actions, to express their needs or to inhibit their own behaviour. Challenging behaviours cause significant distress for the person with dementia and their caregivers. Non-pharmacological approaches are now considered the mainstay of therapy of challenging symptoms in dementia, supplanting pharmacological interventions.

In our research we develop needs-driven and person-centred non-pharmacological approaches aimed at preventing, treating, or curing challenging symptoms in dementia that can be personalised and integrated into a person’s life course. An example of such an approach is the development of health care technology on early warning to support staff to act timely to prevent further deterioration.

Our research includes:

  • Sensor technology to monitor challenging behaviour (MOOD-Sense)
  • Sustainable Personalised Advances in Dementia Care (with focus on needs for health care technology in dementia, SPREAD+)
  • Music Interventions to reduce depression symptoms in people with dementia (MIDDEL)
  • Creating awareness regarding sounds on challenging behaviours (MoSART+)
  • Influence of the physical environment on well-being and quality of life in people with dementia (Dwellings for dementia)
  • Prevalence of pharmacological prescriptions in persons with dementia

How our research benefits to society

Challenging behaviours, such as agitation and aggression, are highly prevalent in patients with dementia. They lead to poor quality of life for the person with dementia and their caregivers and represent leading causes for institutionalization. With limited nursing home places and the persons’ wish to stay at home, interventions are needed that can not only be used in long-term care but also at home and should focus on the persons with dementia, their families and health care professionals.

External members

  • R. (Rinesh) Baidjnath Misier
  • J. (Jan) Kleine-Deters


Small profile photo of S.I.M. Janus
Sarah Janus Senior researcher

University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
Department of Primary and Long-term Care
P.O. Box 196
9700 AD Groningen

Visiting address
Department of Primary and Long-term Care
Oostersingel | entrance 47 | building 50 | 2nd floor
The Netherlands