Music & Memory and Improved Swallowing in Advanced Dementia


Dementia (London)




Background: Dysphagia and difficulty with eating affects a significant portion of individuals with advanced dementia. Such problems with oral intake can have serious health consequences including mealtime distress, dehydration and malnutrition, aspiration, reduced quality of life, and increased mortality risk. Design: We present the first data indicating that “Music & Memory” interventions improve swallowing in individuals with advanced dementia, thereby making oral feeding easier and potentially diminishing reliance on PEG. Setting:; Columbia Health Care Center, Wyocena, WI (with Music&, Mineola, NY and Stony Brook University). Participants: Residents with advanced dementia (N?=?5). Measurements: Observation by eight professional caregivers. Results: (1) Enhanced swallowing mechanism with Music & Memory prior to dining; (2) decreased incidents of choking during mealtime; (3) improved nutritional status; (4) reduced weight loss; (5) reduced need for speech interventions; (6) enhanced quality of life. Conclusions: The preliminary results call for additional research.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Eating Disorders; Mental Health; Music Listening; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Quality of Life

Indexed Terms

Elderly; Deglutition; Deglutition Disorders; Dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; Peg; dementia; dysphagia; oral feeding; percutaneous endoscopic gastronomy; swallowing

Study Type

Case Study; Qualitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type