Agitation in dementia is defined as “Inappropriate verbal, vocal, or motor activity that aren’t explained by apparent needs or confusion. Agitated behaviors in dementia can be characterized as disruptive, socially inappropriate, or aggressive” (Tariot, 1999).
Agitation is a frequent speedbump for those suffering from dementia. For many families, agitation is a frequent symptom of dementia that disrupts their daily activities. As caregivers, we know how frustrating it can be to help an agitated person relax. The confusion that usually accompanies agitation doesn’t help either. Frequent bursts of agitation can get in the way of everyday tasks like eating breakfast or going to doctor’s visits, which can cause patients with dementia (as well as their families and caregivers!) extra stress.
Unfortunately, there are very few medical interventions for dealing with agitation. Even medications often aren’t helpful. However, there is good news. Research shows that working with music can gently reduce agitation and create a safe environment for those with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
How does music help?
Music soothes the nervous system to promote rest and relaxation for both the caregiver and their loved one with dementia. Familiar music can inspire feelings of safety and cues a relaxation response. Music can also promote a positive mood, feelings of familiarity, and a sense of self. Working with music can be one way to minimize the speed bumps of agitation and promote emotional health. That way you and the person you love can get back to living a full life!
There is strong evidence to support using music in a therapeutic way for those with dementia. A recent research paper showed that music can be therapeutic for those with mild, moderate, and severe dementia struggling with agitation (Pederson et al., 2017). This paper also showed that there is a medium treatment effect size -meaning that personalized music interventions can be an effective treatment for agitation when compared to other treatments.
However, music should be used in a therapeutic way in order to receive these benefits. SingFit STUDIO Caregiver makes it easy to use therapeutic music, while also providing the training and tools you need to interact and share music in a joyful way. SingFit’s technology and playlists are specially developed to support singing for those with cognitive decline, and are created with the caregiver in mind.
Music can be a dynamic tool in your daily routine. Here’s why: SingFit supports emotional well-being and reduces agitation while making beautiful memories together. We make it easy for you to provide music in a therapeutic and safe way for those with dementia.
Key Takeaway: Music can reduce agitation for those with dementia! Music interventions usually use personalized music, which you can easily find in the SingFit STUDIO Caregiver app. Try using SingFit throughout your week to promote familiarity and reduce agitation. Click here to find out more about how you can use SingFit STUDIO Caregiver to improve the life of your loved one with cognitive decline. 
Pedersen, S. K., Andersen, P. N., Lugo, R. G., Andreassen, M., & Sütterlin, S. (2017). Effects of music on agitation in dementia: a meta-analysis. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 742.
Tariot, P. N. (1999). Treatment of agitation in dementia. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 60, 11-20.