by Trish Vella-Burrows, Canterbury Christ Church University
This guide provides an overview of the evidence that group singing can be beneficial for people living with dementia. It also gives examples of setting up singing groups for people living in the community who are affected by dementia. This includes care-givers, family members and friends.
Whilst hospitals may be used as a community singing venue, this guide is not concerned with specialised music therapy as a clinical intervention. Such work is undertaken by registered music therapists, often as part of a multi-disciplinary health team. Rather the guide draws upon the experience of groups of people who live with the effects of dementia and who sing in established, dementia-focused singing groups. It also draws on the experience of music practitioners and health researchers in the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health who have contributed significantly to the growing body of evidence and who have helped to establish singing groups for people with specific health conditions, including those affected by dementia.
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