Haven: Sharing Receptive Music Listening to Foster Connections and Wellbeing for People With Dementia Who Are Nearing the End of Life, and Those Who Care for Them


Dementia (London)




This paper reports on research exploring the effects of music played for 12 dyads: a care home resident ('resident') with dementia and someone closely connected to him/her ('carer'). Six individualised music interventions (3 live and 3 pre-recorded) were played by the first author on solo cello within five Scottish non-NHS care homes. All interventions were video-recorded. Semi-structured interviews with carer participants, key staff, and managers explored their responses to interventions. Thick descriptions of video recordings and interview transcripts were thematically coded using Nvivo. A key finding was that structural elements of the interventions combined with characteristics of the music played facilitated an internalised experience of 'haven'; sonically transporting listeners away from their present reality and fulfilling the basic human needs for inclusion, comfort, identity, occupation and attachment.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Elderly; Interviews; Long-Term Care Facility; Mental Health; Music Listening; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Palliative Care; Quality of Life; Wellness and Well-Being

Indexed Terms

Elderly; Elderly; Caregivers; Dementia; Interviews as Topic; Palliative Care; Quality of Life; Scotland; Terminal Care; communication; dementia; end of life; interaction; palliative care; therapeutic music

Study Type

Case Study; Qualitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type