Introduction: Dementia affects millions of people globally and can impact the emotional and cognitive well-being of these individuals. Interventions such as music therapy, including the use of personalized music, are increasingly being used to help reduce the severity of symptoms and enhance patient care. Research has shown that music is strongly associated with long-term memory, and the use of familiar songs may trigger emotional arousal and past memories in individuals with dementia. However, the effectiveness of listening to personalized music on alleviating dementia symptoms is unclear. The aim of this review was to examine the effects of listening to personalized music on emotional arousal and mood in individuals with dementia.
Methods: Two databases, Embase and PubMed, were searched for articles exploring personalized or preferred music listening in older adults with dementia and were screened by two co-authors.
Results: A total of 9 studies were included in the review. Five of the included studies found positive impacts on mood, such as increased happiness. Two studies demonstrated decreases in agitation, and two studies demonstrated decreases in anxiety.
Discussion: This review found an overall positive impact of listening to personalized music on emotion and behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia (BPSD). The improved emotional arousal and mood shown in this review may lead to enhanced motivation during cognitive tasks, ultimately improving overall performance.
Conclusion: Although listening to personalized music was found to strengthen emotional affect and mood, there are inconsistencies in the parameters used during musical interventions. Thus, it is evident that further research is required to determine the optimal guidelines for implementing personalized music listening interventions.
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