Dementia, Volume 22, Issue 7, Page 1348-1371, October 2023. IntroductionAt the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, people with dementia living in the community experienced the sudden loss of their usual activities, and videoconferencing was widely adopted by music groups whilst face-to-face sessions were not possible. This paper reports the findings of a proof-of-concept study of online singing for people living with dementia and their carers, focusing on the experiences of the participants.MethodPeople with dementia and their care partners were invited to take part in 10 weeks of online singing sessions. Each session lasted 1 hour, and comprised time for talking, warming up and singing familiar songs. Participants completed standardised outcome measures at baseline and after 10 weeks. Dyads were invited to take part in a semi-structured interview.ResultsIn total, 16 pairs were recruited. The response to the online singing group was mostly positive. Participants were able to use the technology to join the sessions, and reported few technical problems. Despite the limitations of online singing, the experience was frequently reported to be enjoyable. Some participants described longer-term benefits, such as improved mood and better relationship between care partners. Some felt online sessions had advantages over face-to-face ones; for example, they were more accessible. However, participants who had previously been attending face-to-face sessions felt that the online singing was a “better than nothing” substitute.ConclusionsOnline singing cannot recreate the experience of group singing face-to-face, and it requires some technical knowledge, but it provides a worthwhile alternative in a time of need for some people with dementia and their carers. Furthermore, for some people online singing may be preferable due to its accessibility. Given the potential for online singing to include people who cannot go out for any reason and its relatively low cost, providers may wish to consider hybrid online/in-person singing groups in future.

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This post is Copyright: Becky Dowson | June 9, 2023
SAGE Publications: Dementia: Table of Contents