Short and Longer Term Effects of Musical Intervention in Severe Alzheimer's Disease

Sylvain Clément
Audrey Tonini
Fatiha Khatir
Loris Schiaratura
Séverine Samsony


In this study, we examined short and longer term effects of musical and cooking interventions on emotional well-being of severe Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. These two pleasurable activities (i.e., listening to music, tasting sweets) that were collectively performed (i.e., playing music together, collaborative preparation of a cake) were compared in two groups of matched patients with AD (N = 14). Each intervention lasted four weeks (two sessions per week) and their effects were regularly assessed up to four weeks after the end of the intervention. We repeatedly evaluated the emotional state of both groups before, during, and after the intervention periods by analyzing discourse content and facial expressions from short filmed interviews as well as caregivers' judgments of mood. The results reveal short-term benefits of both music and cooking interventions on emotional state on all these measures, but long-term benefits were only evident after the music intervention. The present finding suggests that non-pharmacological approaches offer promising methods to improve the quality of life of patients with dementia and that music stimulation is particularly effective to produce long lasting effects on patients' emotional well-being. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)