A review of the research literature for the use of music and music therapy in the setting of dementia and how this informs an approach to service delivery by Music Moves Me Trust

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Vicki A. Jones
MBChB (Hons) MRCP (UK) Dip Pall Med FRNZCGP
Founding CEO, Music Moves Me Trust


Keywords: Dementia, non-pharmacological management, music therapy, music groups, music listening.


Dementia is a growing health concern in New Zealand and worldwide. There is no treatment currently available that can reverse the underlying disease processes involved. Behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are common and non-pharmacological strategies are recommended as first-line management of these, as medication can have significant adverse effects. The use of music and music therapy in the setting of dementia offers potential, not only for non-pharmacological management of BPSD, but also as a tool to promote quality-of-life and person-centred care. Music Moves Me Trust was established in the Waikato region of New Zealand in 2015, and has developed a music programme for people living with dementia in aged-residentialcare facilities. This article aims to lend support to the argument for the availability of a non-pharmacological approach to BPSD. It will also review the current literature around each aspect of our music programme and look to examine future directions for research.

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