University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Effects of Personalized Music on Caregivers of Older Adults With Dementia in the Community

Lisa Quinn-Lee, PhD; Donald Mowry, PhD

WMJ. 2019;118(2):80-83.

Download full text pdf.


Introduction: Music is a relatively low-cost and low-risk approach to managing the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.

Objective: This exploratory study provided personalized music for 3 months to 25 older adults with dementia living in their homes with a caregiver and measured how the intervention affected the caregivers, including their perception of distress.

Methods: Caregivers completed the Caregiving Distress Scale (CDS) at pre- and postintervention and also participated in semistructured, in-depth, qualitative interviews.

Results: Quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS; qualitative data were analyzed using NVivo. Paired t-tests revealed a decrease in total CDS scores (P < 0.01).

Conclusion: Overall, caregivers believed that personalized music supported them and reduced stress.

Author Affiliations: University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, Wis (Quinn-Lee, Mowry).
Corresponding Author: Lisa Quinn-Lee, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 105 Garfield Ave, PO Box 4004, Eau Claire, WI 547024004; phone 715.836.5405; email
Funding/Support: Dr Quinn-Lee received grants from the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services Division of Long-Term Care and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and nonfinancial support from Music and Memory and from Aging and Disability Resource Center of Eau Claire County.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
Share WMJ