Characteristics of Music Therapy With Beneficial Impacts on Agitation in Dementia
Keywords:dementia; agitation; instrumental case study; music preference; trustful relationships
Several reviews in recent years have reported evidence of the effect of music on the serious problem of agitation in dementia. Some reviews draw different conclusions, however, which actualizes the need for studies that examine characteristics of music therapy with beneficial impacts on agitation. In an instrumental case study, documented through qualitative interviews, recordings of group meetings, and patient record excerpts, we examine how music was used intensively in interaction with a man in his 70s at a unit for persons with dementia. Music therapy was often able to ease his agitation and was especially valuable in a period when he needed to be isolated due to a suspected coronavirus infection. However, the interventions did not work every time, and his responses differed considerably. The case illustrates that music therapy can address agitation in dementia for some clients, but the claim must be qualified. Potential characteristics of music therapy with such an ability might be i) situated use of the most favored music, ii) careful adjustment to signs of pain and discomfort, iii) sustained effort to build trustful relationships, iv) transferable interaction patterns of health musicking, and v) sufficient access to attention and support for the client(s) during the musical interventions.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Frode A. Kristiansen, Brynjulf Stige , Anna Helle-Valle
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