Nursing Home Residents' Positive Behavioral Responses to Individualized Music Predict Improvements in Sundowning Symptoms After Music Listening


Journal of Aging and Health




Objective: The goal of this exploratory study was to predict which long-term care residents with dementia would experience improvements in their sundowning symptoms after listening to personalized music playlists. Methods: We studied 101 residents with moderate to severe dementia from 15 long-term care facilities across 8 months. We observed residents' behavioral responses to individualized music while they listened and recorded sundowning symptoms both before and after each listening session. Results: As hypothesized, residents who exhibited a greater number of positive reactive behaviors while listening to music also evidenced more improvements in their confusion, disengagement, unresponsiveness, and restlessness after their music-listening session. Discussion: Our results reveal that observing behavioral responses during music listening is an effective way to determine when nursing home residents are benefiting from personalized music playlists. These findings inform music programs in long-term care settings by identifying residents whose sundowning symptoms are most amenable to music intervention.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Behavioral State; Elderly; Long-Term Care Facility; Mental Health; Music Listening; Neurodegenerative Disorders

Indexed Terms

Dementia; Long-Term Care; Nursing Homes; behavioral observations; dementia; individualized music listening; sundowning symptoms

Study Type

Ethnographic Study; Qualitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type