The Music Engagement Program for People With Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia: Pilot Feasibility Trial Outcomes


Evaluation and Program Planning




Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are common, highly disabling conditions frequently requiring residential care. This exploratory proof-of-concept study aimed to determine if the specialised Music Engagement Program (MEP) was sustainable, acceptable, and effective in improving quality of life, emotional wellbeing, and depression symptoms in this population. Sixteen residents, six staff members, and three family and community members took part in the evaluation of the MEP for people living with dementia in a residential aged-care nursing home in Canberra, Australia. Multiple methods were used. Quantitative evaluation assessed residents’ depression symptoms (Cornell scale) at pre- and post-intervention, and emotional wellbeing pre- and post-session. Qualitative interviews with staff, and family and community members addressed the MEP’s acceptability and potential sustainability. Results showed residents’ mean depression scores were reduced from pre- to post-intervention (p = .039; dz = 0.72). Interviews established multiple benefits for residents including improved mood, calmness, and reduced aggression. However, staff did not believe it was feasible to continue the MEP sessions beyond the trial period without an external facilitator, citing potential difficulties in adhering to internal activities due to time constraints. This pilot study provides encouraging preliminary evidence for the MEP’s acceptability and potential effectiveness for improving depression and wellbeing in this group. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Calmness; Depression; Elderly; Emotional Functioning; Interviews; Mental Health; Mood; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Nursing Home; Quality of Life; Recreative Music Methods; Self-Report Measures; Wellness and Well-Being

Indexed Terms

Alzheimer’s disease; Dementia; Depression; Feasibility Intervention; Alzheimer's Disease; Major Depression; Well Being; Health Related Quality of Life; Family; Geropsychology; Music Perception

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods

Document Type