The Use of Music Playlists for People With Dementia: A Critical Synthesis


Journal of Alzheimer's Disease




The use of pre-recorded music to ease behavioral and psychological symptoms associated with dementia is popular in health-care contexts in both formal music therapy settings and in non-therapist led interventions. However, further understanding of how non-therapist led interventions compare to therapist led interventions is needed. This paper reviews 28 studies that used pre-recorded music with people with dementia using a critical interpretive synthesis model. Results revealed that pre-recorded music can be effective in reducing a variety of affective and behavioral symptoms, in particular agitation, even where a trained music therapist is not present. However, the results are not universally positive, suggesting the need for further clarification of protocols for music use and closer investigation of variables that influence individual responseto music.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Distress; Elderly; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Psychological Outcomes; Recorded Music Listening

Indexed Terms

Dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; critical synthesis; dementia; music interventions; review

Study Type

Editorials, Opinions, Position Papers

PubMed ID


Document Type