Song-task association in dementia care, a preliminary study.

We are currently undertaking research in care homes to understand the potential impact the Memory Tracks App to use music in order to support those living with dementia. Once the initial study is completed we will be publishing the results of this research on this website.

Our research team currently includes Dr J. Harry Whalley,  Dr Stuart Cunningham, Mark Brill, Sarah Edwards and Gordon Anderson.

Music builds long-term associative memories, often closely tied to emotions which can be more resilient to loss than other types of memory (Cuddy, Sikka & Vanstone, 2015). Memory Tracks, a care platform can provides a personalised selection of music tailored to the routine of an individual living with Dementia, their family and carers needs.  The individualisation of music can also reduce the frequency of agitation in certain settings (Gerdner, 2000).

The core element of the platform is a tablet or smartphone app (fig. 2) that connects daily events to the patient’s choice of reminiscence music. In the initial development these triggers are activated by their carer or by the user. For example, getting dressed, taking medicine, eating and exercising. These actions are managed using the Memory Tracks app prototype v1.

Further development of Memory Tracks will utilise behavioural or physical triggers and sensors to create a contextual, more immersive user experience. The framework is that of song, association and task being nested together with the robust emotional association providing the ‘glue’ between song and task.

The ’scoping’ stage of this project includes a review of the literature, conversation with couple not living with dementia from a similar age demographic in collaboration with Sound Vault HQ (podcast network) and a baseline questionnaire from Pendine Park Care Home.

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Pendine Park Research Summary

Song selection & pre interview – Creating an approach to identify the most relevant reminiscence music

Song selection is made in collaboration with the care giver. Observations are made before and after the introduction of the memory tracks platform.

Daily observation of patient from care givers

– Agitation

– Memory

Data Collection

Care giver interviews

Patient interviews (where appropriate)

This process will be iterated after feedback from this stage.

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