Effect of music intervention on apathy in nursing home residents with dementia

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This study examined the effectiveness of group music intervention in the treatment of nursing home residents with apathy. Apathy can clinically defined with a score of 40 or above on the apathy evaluation scale (AES). Seventy-seven residents were randomly assigned to the intervention or control group. The intervention group was given a music intervention programme, which included listening to traditional music, including nostalgic songs, and playing musical instruments three times a week, for a total of twelve weeks. Results demonstrated a decrease in apathy scores in the intervention group (z = 4.667, P < 0.01), but not in the control group (z = −1.810, P > 0.05). Cognitive function, as assessed by Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) score, was stable in the intervention group (t = 1.720, P > 0.05), but declined in the control group (t = −1.973, P < 0.05). We conclude that music intervention has the potential to be an effective therapy for the treatment of apathy in the early stages of dementia.

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