Findings from a Prospective Randomized Controlled Trial of an Individualized Music Listening Program for Persons With Dementia


Journal of Applied Gerontology




Music & Memory (M&M) is a passive music intervention that uses personalized music playlists delivered on digital music players. This program has been increasingly adopted in nursing homes across the United States to facilitate communication, engagement, and socialization among persons with dementia (PWDs); however, few studies have evaluated the program's effect on PWDs' outcomes. In the present study, a randomized controlled crossover design was used to examine the impact of the M&M program on 59 PWDs in 10 nursing homes over a 14-week period. Residents' evaluated outcomes included agitation, behavioral symptoms, and use of psychotropic medications. Although trends supported the positive effects of M&M, no statistically significant differences were found in any of the outcomes measured over time. Methodological limitations withstanding, these findings call into question the effectiveness of the M&M program and the ability of facility staff to implement this intervention with fidelity.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Agitation; Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Cognitive Abilities; Elderly; Engagement Level; Long-Term Care Facility; Medication Use; Memory; Neurodegenerative Disorders

Indexed Terms

Elderly; Elderly; Cross-Over Studies; Dementia; Nursing Homes; Outcome Assessment, Health Care; Prospective Studies; Wisconsin; Alzheimer’s disease; dementia; nursing homes; quality of life

Study Type

Randomized Controlled; Trial; Quantitative Methods

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