The Contribution of Intimate Live Music Performances to the Quality of Life for Persons With Dementia

M. van der Vleuten
A. Visser
L. Meeuwesen


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess the effect of intimate live music performances delivered by professional singers on the quality of life of persons with mild and severe dementia in nursing homes. METHODS: A sample of 54 persons with varying degrees of dementia participated in the study. Complete data sets are available for 45 persons. Using a quasi-experimental design, quality of life was assessed on the dimensions of participation (human contact, care relationship and communication) and mental well-being (positive emotions, negative emotions and communication). Observational rating scales were completed by caregivers and family after the performance. RESULTS: Intimate live music performances have a positive effect on human contact, care relationships, positive emotions and negative emotions, especially for the mild dementia group. They lead to improved human contact, better communication, more positive and less negative emotions, and an improved relationship between caregiver and receiver. CONCLUSION: Intimate live music performances are an inexpensive, non-invasive, feasible way to improve a deteriorating quality of life for persons suffering from dementia. This form of supplementary care may also alleviate the task of caregivers. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Nursing homes should make more use of intimate live music performances as forms of complementary care.