It has been said that music can soothe the savage beast. Apparently, it can do some good things for those with dementia as well.

In a recent study, 51 individuals living with dementia attended a musical intervention at community-based adult day health centers. The result was a positive change in mood and reduced agitation. Specifically, participants demonstrated significant increases in joy, eye contact, eye movement, being engaged, and talkativeness, and a decrease in sleeping and moving or dancing.

For the study, each participant listened to personalized music using headphones, which prompted social interaction with one another and/or the researchers while listening. After 20 minutes, participants were brought back to the center’s usual activities and were observed for 20 more minutes.

“The promising results of this affordable and meaningful intervention have propelled our team to develop an online training for direct care workers,” said lead author Emily Ihara, Ph.D., of George Mason University. Full findings appear in Geriatrics & Gerontology International.