Dementia, Volume 23, Issue 2, Page 251-271, February 2024. Background and AimDespite the impact of dementia on close care relationships, accessible therapeutic services for people living with dementia and their care partners remain scarce. Further, there is an increasing demand for online services, highlighting the need for ongoing telehealth research. This study aimed to explore the experiences of people living with dementia and their informal and formal care partners following participation in a 10-week online therapeutic songwriting program.MethodsThe songwriting program included four duo and six group sessions facilitated by a music therapist. Post-program semi-structured interviews were analysed using thematic analysis.FindingsNine people with dementia and six care partners (nine duos) participated in the program. Five duos were in spousal relationships and four people with dementia participated with a formal care partner. Participants attended an average of four duo sessions and three group sessions. Six people with dementia and five care partners participated in post-program interviews. Four themes were developed: (1) No one else does this; (2) It’s all about us as people; (3) After the sessions we’d come out buzzing; and (4) The journey was as important as the product.ConclusionsParticipants highlighted songwriting as a unique opportunity to connect with music, experience welcomed challenges, and spend ‘real time’ together. The program drew on participants’ lived experience and promoted connection with others, resulting in feelings of enjoyment, enhanced mood, and achievement. Participants valued both the songwriting process and song product, emphasising the importance of sensitive and skilful facilitation. Our findings suggest that these distinct benefits were not available through other support services. Further, online songwriting is a viable option for people living with dementia and their care partners where in-person sessions are not available or accessible.

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This post is Copyright: Imogen Clark | December 22, 2023
SAGE Publications: Dementia: Table of Contents