Music Playlists for People With Dementia: Trialing a Guide for Caregivers


Journal of Alzheimer's Disease




BACKGROUND: Music programs have the potential to provide an effective non-pharmacological tool for caregivers to reduce depression and agitation and increase quality of life in people with dementia. However, where such programs are not facilitated by a trained music therapist, caregivers need greater access to information about how to use music most effectively in response to key challenges to care, and how to pre-empt and manage adverse responses. OBJECTIVE: This study reports on the trial of a Guide for use of music with 45 people with dementia and their caregivers in residential care facilities and home-based care. METHODS: The study used a pre-post experimental design in which participants were randomly allocated to a treatment group or a waitlist control group. RESULTS: Improvements to quality of life were found in the experimental group over the 6-week period. Significant increases in Interest, Responsiveness, Initiation, Involvement, and Enjoyment were reported for individual listening sessions. CONCLUSION: The Guide can provide an effective protocol for caregivers to follow in selecting music to manage particular challenges to care, confirming the need for caregivers to be prepared to monitor and manage potential negative responses.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Agitation; Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Caregivers; Depression; Elderly; Engagement Level; Home Setting; Long-Term Care Facility; Music and Healing; Music Listening; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Positive Verbalizations; Questionnaires; Symptom Management; Quality of Life

Indexed Terms

Elderly; Elderly; Caregivers; Dementia; Quality of Life; Surveys and Questionnaires; Aged care; Alzheimer’s disease; agitation; arts-based therapies; geriatric depression; health guidelines

Study Type

Randomized Controlled; Trial; Quantitative Methods

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