Music Lessons: Exploring the Role and Meaning of Music for Older Adults With Dementia


Canadian Journal on Aging




An aging population and increasing rates of dementia point to the need for alternative strategies that allow individuals to age in place. This multiple case study explored, from an insider's perspective, the role and meaning of music for individuals with dementia who are aging in place. Methods were semi-structured interviews, observations, and videos. The study's central theme is connection, with three types of "connectors" - self, partner, and music - as subthemes. Connection to self involves present moment awareness, accessing memories, and self-expression. Connection to partner builds on self-connection and spending time together with music. Lastly, the connection to music builds on the previous two subthemes as well as the desire to keep things "normal". This study provides insight into the growing body of interdisciplinary literature dedicated to dementia, music, aging in place, and contemplative practices, as well as implications for aging and caring for someone with dementia.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Elderly; Interpersonal Relations; Interviews; Neurodegenerative Disorders

Indexed Terms

Elderly; Elderly; Dementia; Independent Living; Ontario; Qualitative Research; Spouses; ageing; case study; connection; connexion; dementia; démence; musique; qualitatif; qualitative; vieillissement; étude de cas

Study Type

Case Study; Qualitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type