‘A Light at the End of the Tunnel’
The Experiences of Members of a Therapeutic Community Choir for People Living with Dementia and their Care-Partners who ‘Went Online’ During the COVID-19 Pandemic – an Arts-Based Phenomenological Study
Background: This paper presents the results of an arts-based, phenomenological research project in which members of a therapeutic community choir for people living with dementia and their family and friends reflected on their experiences of singing together pre and post the transition to online sessions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Method: Eleven choir members (three living with dementia and eight family care-partners) participated in interviews about their experience of the choir and its transition to an online format during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interviews were conducted in either a traditional, semi-structured interview format, or as a collaborative songwriting session, and participants were able to choose the format that they preferred. Transcripts of the interviews and songs that were composed were analysed using an adapted Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and arts-based research method. Participants verified key themes that emerged from the analysis, which formed the basis of an 18-part Song Cycle, which included two original songs by participants, and 16 songs composed by the first author.
Results: Eighteen sub-themes were generated from the analysis, which are expressed as songs and grouped into four overarching themes or ‘Movements’: i) the dementia experience; ii) the choir experience; iii) the COVID-19 experience; and iv) the virtual experience. The songs depict how participants experienced each of the overarching themes, and revealed challenges, new opportunities and resilience.
Conclusion: Navigating COVID-19 while living with or caring for someone with dementia was challenging. The virtual choir format was acceptable, provided relief from the stress of COVID-19, and kept members connected, however, there were technological limitations that made the experience challenging at times.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Zara Thompson, Ms, Felicity A Baker, Professor, Imogen Nicola Clark, Dr, Gwladys McLachlan, Sue Mountain, Dennis Mountain, Maria Radford, Mark Reid, Nena Reid, Teuila Reid, Vera Tkalcevic, Marion Hodgson, Jeanette Tamplin, Dr
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Articles published prior to 2019 are subject to the following license, see: https://voices.no/index.php/voices/copyright