Understanding the Experience of Group Singing for Couples Where One Partner Has a Diagnosis of Dementia






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 analyzed 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-centered models of care could inform dementia support services. Future research would benefit from longitudinally exploring the links between creativity in couples and relationship resilience.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Caregivers; Community Music Experience; Elderly; Interpersonal Relations; Interviews; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Recreative Music Methods; Singing a Song

Indexed Terms

Elderly; Caregivers; Dementia; Grounded Theory; Group Processes; Interpersonal Relations; Interview, Psychological; Peer Influence; Singing; Social Environment; Couples; Creativity; Dementia care; Group singing; Relational perspective

Study Type

Grounded Theory Study; Qualitative Methods

PubMed ID


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