Objectives This study explored the effectiveness of group music intervention against agitated behavior in elderly persons with dementia. Methods This was an experimental study using repeated measurements. Subjects were elderly persons who suffered from dementia and resided in nursing facilities. In total, 104 participants were recruited by permuted block randomization and of the 100 subjects who completed this study, 49 were in the experimental group and 51 were in the control group. The experimental group received a total of twelve 30-min group music intervention sessions, conducted twice a week for six consecutive weeks, while the control group participated in normal daily activities. In order to measure the effectiveness of the therapeutic sessions, assessments were conducted before the intervention, at the 6th and 12th group sessions, and at 1 month after cessation of the intervention. Longitudinal effects were analyzed by means of generalized estimating equations (GEEs). Results After the group music therapy intervention, the experimental group showed better performance at the 6th and 12th sessions, and at 1 month after cessation of the intervention based on reductions in agitated behavior in general, physically non-aggressive behavior, verbally non-aggressive behavior, and physically aggressive behavior, while a reduction in verbally aggressive behavior was shown only at the 6th session. Conclusions Group music intervention alleviated agitated behavior in elderly persons with dementia. We suggest that nursing facilities for demented elderly persons incorporate group music intervention in routine activities in order to enhance emotional relaxation, create inter-personal interactions, and reduce future agitated behaviors.
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