19 September 2009

The magic of Choir for people with dementia

Choir Magic
Aging Horizons Bulletin September/October 2009
People who live in residential care settings typically lead passive and receptive lives. But the work of researcher Kirstin Robertson-Gillam and others suggests this does not have to be.

Robertson-Gillam is a music psychotherapist and owner of Creative Horizons Counselling and Therapy Services in the Blue Mountains, near Sydney, Australia. She is currently enrolled in the PhD program at the University of Western Sydney.

In a recent study, Robertson-Gillam investigated the potential for choir work to enhance the lives of older adults living in residential care settings. Participants were residents of Hammond Care’s residential facility in Sydney. They included 18 females and 11 males. Their average age was 80 years. Two-thirds of the residents had dementia and the other third did not.

The pilot study revealed choir participation enhanced quality of life for older adults with dementia. It also reduced their chances of becoming depressed.

The findings were published in Ageing, Disability and Spirituality: Addressing the Challenge of Disability in Later Life. > read interview

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