Effects of viewing a preferred nature image and hearing preferred music on engagement, agitation, and mental status in persons with dementia

SAGE Open Med. 2015 Aug 31:3:2050312115602579. doi: 10.1177/2050312115602579. eCollection 2015.


Background: The purpose of the described exploratory study was to test proactive strategies for enhancing engagement and cognitive ability while diminishing dementia-related disordered behaviors of those diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Study participants resided in an Memory Care unit of an assisted living community.

Method: The researchers measured the effects of exposure to music and nature images on engagement using the Individualized Dementia Engagement and Activities Scale tool, on cognitive ability using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, and on agitation using the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory.

Result: The within-subject study design revealed that use of both music and nature images hold promise for reducing undesirable behaviors and improving engagement of residents.

Conclusion: The authors suggest caregivers for those with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias can effectively use nature images and music to improve engagement and reduce disordered behaviors, thus potentially enhancing quality of life for the care recipient as well as the caregiver while possibly reducing the costs of medications used to control dementia-related undesirable behaviors.

Keywords: Geriatrics/gerontology; dementia; multisensory stimulation; nursing.