The Effect of Music on Caloric Consumption Among Nursing Home Residents With Dementia of the Alzheimer’s Type


Activities, Adaptation & Aging




Maintaining sufficient caloric intake among nursing home residents with dementia of the Alzheimer’s type (DAT) who are at risk for weight loss is a serious and difficult challenge for health care professionals. Inadequate caloric consumption is often exasperated by an eating environment that creates stress and agitation. Previous research has shown that music may be effective in decreasing agitation among cognitively impaired nursing home residents. The current study examined whether music played during meals, by reducing agitation, would result in increased caloric consumption among 12 nursing home residents with middle dementia. Subjects were observed for 24 meals both with and without the provision of familiar background music using a crossover A-B-A-B design. Food consumption was analyzed by a registered dietitian for total caloric intake using a visual monitor process and the computerized Food Processor PLUS program (ESHA Research, 1996). The results indicated that, overall, subjects consumed 20% more calories when familiar background music was played compared to an eating environment without music. Further analysis of the nutrient content found that increased calories were primarily consumed through carbohydrates, perhaps because of more time spent at the table, which improved the likelihood that more food would be eaten. Although increased caloric consumption among a population at risk for being under weight could be viewed as a positive outcome, the food’s nutritional value should also be considered based on individual needs. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Agitation; Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Eating Disorders; Elderly; Environmental Music; Long-Term Care Facility; Mental Health; Music and Healing; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Stress

Indexed Terms

music effects; caloric consumption; nursing home residents; dementia of the Alzheimers type; DAT; weight loss; Alzheimer's Disease; Calories; Dementia; Eating Behavior; Nursing Homes

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods

Document Type