Music Is Life, That’s why our hearts have beats
#MusiCare is a new project funded by The Dunhill Medical Trust. In this project we want to assess the impact of music therapy on older adults’ cognition and well-being!
The acceleration in the number of older people living with cognitive impairment or dementia has increased the need for simple, inexpensive interventions to improve the quality of life for such individuals and their families. Policy-makers sensitive to issues associated with mental-health challenges in aging have embraced social prescribing, and a wealth of research has flourished to study non-pharmacological forms of preventative intervention.
Can music therapy (MT) be one of them?
We know that music stimulates a range of cognitive and social functions. However, scientific studies assessing the value of MT for those who need support in later life are limited, and rigorous research is required to generate robust scientific evidence.
The focus of this study is on developing novel forms of intervention for older adults who are healthy or experiencing mild-to-severe cognitive decline, aiming at [i] understanding whether MT could be used in preventive programs to support cognitive functions and wellbeing, [ii] identifying the best match between types of MT and levels of cognitive decline. Moreover, recent exciting developments of new robotic assistance technologies offer the opportunity to explore how such technologies may be used to contribute to older adults’ wellbeing when integrated within care routines to facilitate MT delivery, caregivers’ work or intergenerational communication (e.g. with family).
Spanning across three studies, we will investigate the psychosocial benefits of 5-month MT interventions (one2one vs a more economical small-group MT) in healthy older adults and impaired older adults in care-homes (mild/severe), compared to standard care. This latter group will receive MT afterwards. Further, we will investigate whether robotic assistive technology may enrich our interventions and have additional benefits for the participants and translatability for community-based services/organizations.
In order to measure these effects, psychological (cognitive functions, wellbeing, quality of life) and physiological (hormonal, cardiovascular and brain activity) measures will be compared before/after the intervention. Results will be delivered through a multi-disciplinary framework based on consolidated collaborations and pilot work, and by developing a previous study conducted in partnership with MHA care-homes UK, involving multiple stakeholders and specialists.
The study will elucidate the relationship between different types of MT and benefits to participants’ wellbeing, cognitive functions and social engagement, as well as the impact of robotic assistive technologies in public health services and social care.
For this project we will also organize different impact activities to raise community awareness of the effects of MT on reducing the risks of problems arising with aging, as recommended in the WHO/Europe report on Art and Health.
If you would like to know more, have a look on Dunhill Blog Post!