Effects of a Personalized Music Intervention for Persons with Dementia and their Caregivers

John Bufalini, Paul Eslinger, Erik Lehman, Daniel R. George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Given the challenges of developing disease-modifying treatments for Alzheimer's disease and related disorders, non-pharmacological interventions represent an increasingly promising approach in long-term care settings. Music-based interventions have been effective in improving the quality of life by influencing biopsychosocial factors that play a role in the progression of illnesses such as depression and anxiety. However, approaches have tended to focus exclusively on the person with dementia rather than integrating caregivers. Objective: This study aimed to determine the impact of a music-based intervention on the quality of life of persons with dementia and their caregivers. Methods: A mixed-methods study was conducted with seven dyads consisting of residents (aged 76-92) with diagnoses of dementia and their caregivers (aged 53-84) at a skilled nursing facility in Pennsylvania. Eight music intervention sessions were completed in the presence of the resident and caregiver using personalized playlists created for the dyad. Pre-and post-intervention questionnaires were administered during each session, and observational data for both residents and caregivers were collected. Results: Caregivers reported feeling less overwhelmed after the intervention with a mean difference of-0.24±0.14, p=0.016. Mean difference in the other 5 responses showed that listening to music had a beneficial impact for resident/caregiver dyads. Observations of interpersonal behavior supported the benefit of the intervention for these dyads. Conclusion: Quantitative analysis of a personalized music intervention for residents/caregivers showed positive trends in increasing personal connection, and qualitative data identified greater appreciation of the relationship and increased bonding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-48
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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