Understanding the experience of group singing for couples where one partner has a diagnosis of dementia

Unadkat, S., Camic, Paul M. and Vella-Burrows, T. (2016) Understanding the experience of group singing for couples where one partner has a diagnosis of dementia. The Gerontologist. ISSN 0016-9013.


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Purpose of study: There is a continuing interest around the use of group singing in dementia care. Although studies generally indicate positive outcomes, limited research has been carried out from a relational perspective, which places the couple relationship in a central position. This study aimed to better understand how group singing benefits people with dementia and their partners.

Design and Methods: Interview data from 17 couples (N = 34) with one member having dementia, who participated in a range of different types of singing groups, were analysed using grounded theory methodology.

Results: Five key areas were identified, resulting in the development of the group singing model in dementia for couple dyads. Group singing was experienced as being both joyful and accessible. The accessibility of singing, combined with effective facilitation, created an environment for active participation and enjoyment. The group effect mediated further benefits for the person with dementia and for the caregiver which, when combined, increased benefits for the couple through participation in new experiences.

Implications: An opportunity for couples to share in-the-moment creative expression and the positive affect of artistic creation circumventing cognitive impairment is likely to contribute positively to the experience of the relationship. A more refined understanding of shared creative processes in relationship-centred models of care could inform dementia support services. Future research would benefit from longitudinally exploring the links between creativity in couples and relationship resilience.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: group singing, couples, relational perspective, dementia care, creativity
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0636 Applied psychology
M Music and Books on Music > MT Musical instruction and study > MT0820 Singing and vocal technique
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0435 Psychiatry > RC0512 Psychopathology. Mental disorders > RC0521 Dementia
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology > Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
Depositing User: Prof Paul M Camic
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2016 17:27
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2019 17:15
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/14232

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00