“The Music is Still There”: Hearing from Individuals with Dementia Who Sing Together
Danger, Stephanie L 1989-
Music therapy is increasingly recognized as a valuable component of dementia care, yet research on group singing with this population is relatively limited, as is qualitative research that uses this population’s firsthand accounts to understand their experiences. The current study provided a means for individuals with dementia to express how they experienced music therapist-led group singing in a residential care home. The guiding research question was: What is the experience of music therapist-led singing group for individuals with dementia living in a residential care home? Six male residents, diagnosed with moderate to advanced dementia and ranging in age from 78 to 92 years, participated in six 30-minute group singing sessions facilitated by a music therapist who also played the piano. Data was collected in a community-based setting through observation, field notes, video recording, and individual interviews (fully recorded and transcribed), which were analyzed using an observational checklist (Davidson & Fedele, 2011) and Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (Smith & Osborn, 2003). Six themes were produced: (1) Self as a Performer; (2) Self as Part of a Group; (3) Live Music is Special; (4) Music is a Gift; (5) Gaps in Time, Memory and Ability; and (6) The Music Is Still There. Conclusions included support about the value and appropriateness of engaging individuals with dementia in research, as well as in group singing led by a music therapist; and evidence supporting group singing as an aspect of dementia care that contributes to well-being.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
DepartmentEducational Psychology and Special Education
ProgramSchool and Counselling Psychology
CommitteeMartin, Stephanie; Peacock, Shelley; Hunter, Paulette
Copyright DateOctober 2017