Music app shows positive results in adults with dementia and caregivers

According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology.

Additionally, there were no notable differences in demographic or clinical variables between dyads who accepted the mHealth intervention and those who did not.

These results demonstrate a strong potential for using the musical application in the care of people with dementia.

Music interventions for people with dementia have been shown to improve their health and their interactions with their caregivers. However, these interventions are often reserved for institutions and are not accessible to the general public.

The Alight music app was developed using an iterative, participatory, expert-led design approach, including a requirements elicitation phase and 2 cycles of prototyping and testing in real-world contexts.

“End users and stakeholders were involved in all stages, i.e. workshops, interviews, field observation, ethnographic surveys and beta testing sessions with music therapists, patients and caregivers in collaboration with a commercial music and technology company,” the authors explained. .

Prototyping and final testing took place in the [email protected] trial, which ran between 2019 and 2021 in 3 municipalities in Norway.

The current study included 280 dyads with dementia in the same 3 municipalities.

The average age was 82, with all participants aged 65 or older. Most (62%) were women and the majority had mild Alzheimer’s disease (44%) (71%).

Of the 280 dyads, 63 were offered the musical intervention, and only 8 accepted its use.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions led Alight to offer a smaller than expected sample, which may have prevented us from determining distinct clinical and demographic characteristics of dyads accepting use,” the authors explained. .

Feasibility was high among these 8 dyads, with 6 reporting a positive impact on mood, 4 reporting a positive impact on activity, and 4 reporting good friendliness.

Uptake of the music intervention was also high, with 5 dyads reporting using the mHealth app daily or using it multiple times per week.

Additionally, 6 dyads said the music intervention was helpful and 5 said it had a positive impact on the patient-caregiver relationship.

However, the authors also noted that lack of Wi-Fi access and unfamiliarity with using touchscreens were barriers for some study participants.

Besides the small sample size, the authors noted other limitations to the study. These included the lack of a formal qualitative analysis, largely due to the lack of information obtained from the sample of 8 dyads, and the lack of use of recognized assessment tools or guidelines. guidelines for mHealth interventions.

“Future studies should assess the impact of mobile music interventions as an adjunct to other elements of care for [persons with dementia] and caregivers on relevant clinical outcomes, such as cognition, neuropsychiatric symptoms, quality of life, caregiver burden and relationship, and resource utilization,” the authors concluded. “A participatory design process is valuable in ensuring the acceptability, adoption, and feasibility of future mHealth apps in dementia care, and accurate app labeling can enable users to select an app that matches their their current and future needs and resources.”


Berge LI, Gedde MH, Torrado Vidal JC, et al. The acceptability, uptake and feasibility of a music app developed using participatory design for people living at home with dementia and their caregivers. The “Alight” app in the [email protected] trial. Psychiatry before. Published online August 18, 2022. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2022.949393