Using Desensitization Programs to Promote Dental Exam Compliance in Older Adults with Dementia: A Proposed Study
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With the growing population of Americans aged 65 and older, there will be many more Americans living with Dementia and other age-related cognitive impairments. As a result of the behavioral and psychological symptoms of Dementia, individuals with Dementia often refuse dental care, leading to poor oral health and other negative health outcomes. One approach to aid dental exam compliance is the application of desensitization intervention techniques. The proposed study will utilize graduated exposure, positive reinforcement, and reinforcement fading methods to facilitate dental exam compliance in five assisted living facility residents with Dementia. The urgent and growing need for this type of behavioral research and its possible implications will be evaluated and discussed.