A new study in Nottinghamshire is seeking volunteers to form a singing group to study the benefits of singing for people with dementia. 

University of Nottingham researchers are seeking 80 people with dementia and their carers to take part in the Preliminary Randomised Evaluation of Singing in Dementia (PRESIDE 2024) study, which is using Join Dementia Research to recruit participants from Mansfield. The study – funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) – will also begin recruiting participants in Leicester and Lincoln from January. 

Volunteers will be randomly allocated weekly singing sessions at the start of the study, or after 12 weeks, to compare the two groups. Participants will be visited by researchers to complete questionnaires at the start of the study, after 12 weeks and again after a further 12 weeks. 

The benefits of singing for people with dementia

It is thought that singing songs can benefit people with dementia as music can unlock memories, help provide links to a person’s past and promote connection with carers.

A previous University of Nottingham study, IDISIDE (Implementing Digital Singing in Dementia), looked at the benefits of virtual singing groups during the COVID-19 pandemic and researchers now want to examine the benefits of face-to-face groups. 

The study aims to provide hard evidence of the benefits of singing for people with dementia, an area covered by BBC One’s programme ‘Our Dementia Choir with Vicky McClure’ in October. 

The singing sessions will be held on Monday afternoons at St Peter’s Centre, Church Side and no singing experience is necessary. 

Finding an accessible and inexpensive intervention

Dr Justine Schneider, Professor of Mental Health and Social Care at the University of Nottingham said: 

“People with dementia spend years of their lives with a relative or close friend as their principal carer. There is a shortage of effective therapeutic interventions to people in this situation, but singing is popular, accessible to most people and relatively inexpensive to deliver at scale.

“The logic of its effect is that the social, emotional, and physiological stimulation helps to maintain mental functioning. An enjoyable shared experience may strengthen the caring relationship as participation can give access to information, advice and peer support, particularly for the carers.”

You may be eligible to take part if:

  • You have a diagnosis of mild or moderate dementia
  • You are a carer who spends at least two hours per week with them and is willing to attend a singing group
  • You are able to give informed consent and speak and understand English

You will not be eligible to take apart if: 

  • You have a significant hearing impairment
  • You are currently participating  in any other interventional study
  • You are unable to give informed consent to participate in the study

Further information

Find out more about the study – open to recruitment until 30 June 2023 – on the Join Dementia Research website.

To find out if you are eligible to join this study, as well as other dementia studies, sign in to your Join Dementia Research account or if you are not already registered, sign up today.