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Assessing Wellbeing in People Living with Dementia Using Reminiscence Music with a Mobile App (Memory Tracks): A Mixed Methods Cohort Study

Cunningham, Stuart and Brill, Mark and Whalley, J Harry and Read, Rebecca and Anderson, Gordon and Edwards, Sarah and Picking, Richard (2019) Assessing Wellbeing in People Living with Dementia Using Reminiscence Music with a Mobile App (Memory Tracks): A Mixed Methods Cohort Study. Journal of Healthcare Engineering, 2019. pp. 1-10. ISSN 2040-2295

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Abstract

The number of people living with dementia is growing, leading to increasing pressure upon care providers. The mechanisms to reduce symptoms of dementia can take many forms and have the aim of improving the wellbeing and quality of life of the person living with dementia and those who care for them. Besides the person who has dementia, the condition has a profound impact upon their loved ones and carers. One therapeutic approach is the use of music, an area recognised as having potential benefit, but requiring further research. The present paper reports upon a mixed methods cohort study that examines the use of a musical mobile app as a way to promote song-task association in people living with dementia. The study took place in care home environments in the UK. A total of fourteen participants (<jats:italic>N</jats:italic> = 14) were recruited. Quantitative measurements were taken on a daily basis prior to, and during, use of the mobile app over several weeks. Metrics came from the complete Self-Assessment Manikin scale (arousal, valence, and dominance), and a subset of three from the Quality of Life in Alzheimer’s Disease questionnaire (physical health, memory, and life as a whole). Subsequently, semistructured interviews were conducted with staff at the care home to assess the impact of the app upon their role and the residents they care for. No significant differences were found in the combined quantitative measures for the ten (<jats:italic>n</jats:italic> = 10) sets of responses sufficient to be analysed. However, the qualitative results suggest that use of the mobile app produced positive changes in terms of behaviour, ability, and routine in the life of residents living with dementia. These findings contribute to the growing body of evidence-based research in the field of musical therapies for reducing symptoms of dementia and highlight elements where further study is warranted.

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