Ever heard a song and been transported to another time, place or feeling? Aged care providers are now harnessing the power of music in a program that is changing the lives of residents with dementia.

“It is well established that music therapy has many benefits for older adults and people living with dementia,” said Dr Kirsten Challinor, a neuroscientist and lecturer at Australian Catholic University.

The program, known as Moove & Groove, uses music to boost wellbeing and assist with managing challenging behaviours sometimes associated with dementia, such as agitation and calling out. 

It is currently available at hundreds of aged care homes, and being enjoyed by thousands of residents, across Australia and New Zealand.

Music reduces challenging behaviours linked with dementia

Recent research has highlighted the benefits Moove & Groove has brought to residents. 

The two-year study was conducted at 64 Uniting aged care facilities, in conjunction with Dr Challinor, and the results have just been released.

Aged care staff using the Moove & Groove program reported a significant reduction in challenging behaviours that are sometimes associated with dementia.

Of staff surveyed:

  • 78% agreed that agitation reduced
  • 77% agreed that vocal disruption reduced
  • 68% agreed that walking and pacing reduced
  • 61% agreed that verbal aggression reduced

Moreover, the program was also observed to decrease the use of non-scheduled medications, including psychotropic (mood- or behaviour-altering) medications.

Easy to use and person-centred program

Moove & Groove is app-based and connects residents to music while they’re resting or moving around using long-range wireless headphones. 

It can be used individually or in group settings. 

Family and/or staff members input a resident’s favourite music into the program, ensuring it suits their loved one’s personal preferences. 

The program also allows input of content, which is currently available in over 30 languages, across armchair travel, podcasts, spiritual services and more.

Georgene McNeil, Dementia Behaviour Specialist and Practice Lead for Uniting NSW/ACT said: “Moove & Groove has revolutionised care for our residents, especially those with dementia.”

It is like having personalised content and entertainment on tap 24/7.” 

Access to Moove & Groove is available free of charge to residents at Uniting Care facilities.

Music also benefits aged care staff

In addition to the benefits for residents, the research showed Moove & Groove also proved popular with aged care staff. 

We focused on staff because we know that residential aged care work is demanding and associated with high burnout and staff turnover rates,” explained Dr Challinor. 

She said the program not only reduced resident behaviours staff find challenging, but 80% of staff reported it also increased job satisfaction and social connection with residents.

Technical training and support are provided so staff can use the technology

Uniting has been using Moove & Groove, which was officially launched two years ago, for over a year now. 

Thanks to the excellent research results and positive feedback from staff, residents, and their families, Uniting Care has engaged Moove & Groove in a multi-year contract.

Comment from our CEO

CEO of Downsizing.com.au Amanda Graham said music was proving to be a simple, cost-effective and non-medical way to make a difference in the lives of residents living with dementia.

As the number of Australians with dementia continues to grow, it’s great to see Uniting Care doing something to support resident wellbeing and quality of life,” she said. 

“We also know working in aged care can be demanding, so it’s even better that music makes the job of aged care staff easier.”

Watch the video below to see how Moove and Groove is working wonders

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