About the Study
The transformative power of singing for people with dementia was brought vividly to the public's attention in the recent BBC 1 programme Vicky McClure: Our dementia choir. People living with dementia from Nottinghamshire came together in song and staged a triumphant performance at the Royal Concert Hall, showing that music has the capacity to break down the barriers of cognitive impairment and unlock hidden potential.
Previous research has demonstrated that group singing may improve mood and quality of life, strengthen the relationship between people with dementia and their carers, and provide social benefits in the form of a support network.
Now a grant from the Alzheimer's Society has been awarded to fund further research into the benefits of community singing for people with dementia and their carers, to be carried out by researchers from the Institute of Mental Health at the University of Nottingham.
The new study is called "Pilot Randomised Evaluation of Singing in Dementia", or PRESIDE for short. It is a feasibility study, meaning that researchers are looking at whether the research methods they have planned will work in the real world.
The PRESIDE study
The researchers will be looking to recruit 80 people who have been diagnosed with dementia in the last 12 months along with their carers. People who agree to take part will be invited to attend 10 weeks of group singing sessions, led by experienced musicians. The groups will be fun and informal, and no experience of singing is necessary, just a willingness to have a go.
Researchers will use questionnaires to collect information about quality of life, mood and the relationship between the care partners. They will also talk to people who attend the groups and observe sessions to understand how people take part in the group, what they get from it and whether their responses change over time.
What happens next?
Once the study is complete, analysis of the findings will show whether it would be feasible to conduct a larger trial. Demonstrating the benefits of social activities such as group singing for people with dementia will help to secure more funding and resources, supporting people with dementia and their carers to live well with the condition for as long as possible.