Seniorsing.net: a music-based application for memory care

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ABSTRACT

Music therapy is a highly effective treatment when used in the care of persons with dementia (PWD) and singing in particular is found to be calming and pleasurable to PWD.

ABSTRACT

Music therapy is a highly effective treatment when used in the care of persons with dementia (PWD) and singing in particular is found to be calming and pleasurable to PWD. Seniorsing.net is a music-based application for use in memory care that provides a fun and interactive sing along activity for PWD. Developed by a music therapist, the application is designed to engage the user in singing along with recorded song performances while lyrics are displayed on the device screen. Seniorsing.net is accessible on any mobile device and is intended to provide a positive musical experience for PWD, whether listening or singing along. This study was conducted to test the design aspects of the application for use with PWD and their caregivers. Eighteen dyads of participants/caregivers were recruited from the senior community. Participants were observed interacting with seniorsing.net by the music therapist to provide an understanding of the usability of seniorsing.net and to collect information on the responses of PWD to seniorsing.net. Caregivers were given the opportunity to evaluate seniorsing.net via survey. The parameters that were measured included visual clarity and appeal, audibility, clarity of directions and usability by PWD and their caregivers. Observations of participants showed positive interactions with the application. Over 64% of participants independently engaged in singing with the application and over 50% of participants were able to activate features of the application with minimal assistance. Caregiver feedback was also positive. Most caregivers strongly agreed or agreed to the effectiveness of the design and its ease of use with PWD. 100% of caregivers found the song performances to be appropriate and comfortable to follow and sing. Caregivers gave suggestions for improvement of seniorsing.net, such as including more song choices and having more written directions on some of the screens. In conclusion, seniorsing.net was found to be enjoyable and easy to use by PWD and their caregivers.

Keywords: Dementia, Music Therapy, Singing, Technology