Connecting Through Music: A Study of a Spousal Caregiver-directed Music Intervention Designed to Prolong Fulfilling Relationships in Couples Where One Person Has Dementia


Australian Journal of Music Therapy




Maintaining meaningful relationships in ageing couples where one spouse has dementia may lead to improved wellbeing in the caregiving spouses and increase the probability that caregivers will be able to maintain the care of their partners. Our study piloted a home-based music intervention designed to stimulate meaningful interaction between the spouses and discover its value in affecting the quality of the spousal relationship, satisfaction with caregiving, and caregiver wellbeing. Five couples consented to participate in the study and were provided with an education and demonstration session designed to train the caregiving spouse to use music with their spouse. They were asked to self-direct a program involving three sessions per week for six consecutive weeks. Measures of anxiety, depression, spousal relationship, and measures of caregiving experiences were administered pre-post program. Spousal caregivers completed a diary during the six weeks and participated in a post-program interview. A thematic analysis of the data indicated that music-sharing experiences were beneficial to the spousal relationship, satisfaction with caregiving, and caregiver wellbeing, and enhanced the mood of both the caregiver and spouse with dementia. The sample size was too small to generate significant quantitative results and is used in this paper to support the qualitative data. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Anxiety; Depression; Elderly; Home Setting; Interpersonal Relations; Interviews; Mental Health; Mood; Music Listening; Music Therapy; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Patient Satisfaction; Questionnaires; Self-Report Measures; Wellness and Well-Being

Indexed Terms

spousal caregivers; music intervention; dementia; Caregivers; Intervention; Spouses

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type