Graduation Year


Document Type

Senior Thesis


Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Primary Major


Thesis Advisor

Patricia Harris, PhD, RN, CNS


People diagnosed with dementia experience cognitive alterations that cause overwhelming challenges and lead to distinctive life changes. Declining cognitive function noticeably experienced in dementia not only inflicts difficulty with achieving independent living but increases feelings of agitation and disturbs quality of life. Advanced medical care is widely available for managing mental conditions but may not always be effective in treating cognitive changes like memory loss and confusion. Because the stages of dementia vary from person to person, medical interventions are often patient centered to effectively focus on an individual’s specific needs. With non-pharmacological methods, flexibility in adjusting to an individual’s ability is possible and can be more suitable in the plan of care for persons with dementia. Music therapy is a common approach to improving an individual’s social, psychological, and physical well-being, often illustrating beneficial impacts on enhancing cognitive abilities. This research thesis delves into the effects of music therapy, including a literature review of six studies focused on the music intervention and a research proposal on improving cognitive function through music therapy.


I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Patricia Harris, who has guided me through writing my first research thesis and supported me throughout the process. I would also like to dedicate this thesis to the inspiration behind the research topic, my grandpa Tony.