The conversations of life

The power of song: research highlights emotional benefits of music for people with dementia


Currently, more than 436,000 Australians are living with dementia. Symptoms vary widely between feelings of depression, anxiety and agitation.

Now, new Government-funded research may have found a simple way to help – highlighting the potential of using ‘music reminiscence’ therapy to reduce these symptoms.

The Silver Memories radio service conducted a $150,000 year-long trial of their nostalgia music broadcasts – programs that play music from the 1940s to 1970s, 24 hours a day, seven days a week – across 16 NSW and QLD aged care homes – and the results were overwhelmingly positive.

Every one of the 74 residents who participated in the study show significantly reduced levels of depression, agitation and aggression. They also said that they felt better about themselves, and their reported ‘quality of life’ steadily increased across the 12-month study.

With the Government’s recent announcement to reduce the use of physical restraint and medication for people with ‘severe’ dementia symptoms, it’s important that we continue to develop alternative therapies – great work!

Read the full results of the study here.

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