Evaluation of Music and Memory Program

The Music and Memory (M&M) program has been increasingly adopted in nursing homes across the U.S. to support persons with dementia. M&M uses personalized music playlists delivered on digital music players set up and maintained by care staff trained in the program (Music and Memory, 2013). The underlying premise of M&M is that these musical favorites tap into deep memories not lost to dementia, thereby facilitating resident communication, engagement, and socialization. However, few rigorous evaluations of this popular non‐pharmacologic alternative have been conducted.

As a part of ongoing efforts at improving dementia care, the State of Wisconsin decided to implement statewide the Music and Memory program as a non‐ medication based method that may: (1) reduce the rates of negative behaviors typically targeted by medication, thereby reducing the need for medication, and (2) improve the quality of life of persons with dementia by providing access to an activity enjoyed by the persons using it. In 2014, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WI DHS) awarded a grant to the University of Wisconsin‐ Milwaukee to evaluate the effect of the Music & Memory (M&M) program on outcomes for residents, staff, and family caregivers from nursing homes participating in the statewide M&M program initiative. With additional funding support from Claude Pepper Center, Florida State University, Bader Philanthropies, and My Choice, Family Care, the UWM research team conducted comprehensive evaluation of the M&M program between 2014 and 2016.

– Jung Kwak

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