It is well documented that music and singing are beneficial to those living with dementia. Listening to or singing songs can provide both behavioural and emotional benefits and the power of music can unlock memories and help provide links to a person’s past and promote connection with carers.

Researchers at Nottingham University are looking for people with a diagnosis of dementia and their carers to take part in a study about the benefits of online community group singing.

Aim of the study

Previous research has suggested that singing in a group can improve mood, memory and relationships for people with dementia and establish support networks which may also benefit carers. Online singing groups have been created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the aim of the PRESIDE (Pilot Randomised Evaluation of Singing in Dementia) Study is to understand if regular virtual group singing is as effective as bringing people together face to face.

Who can take part?

The study is open to people living in England and their carers. Participants must be willing to attend 10 weeks of singing sessions and must have a carer (someone who spends at least 2 hours per week with them) who is prepared to attend singing sessions and take part in the study. Participants also need access to the internet and a computer as the sessions will take place via Zoom. Those taking part do not need to have any singing experience.

What does it involve?

Researchers will gather data via a Zoom questionnaire about the person’s quality of life, health, mood and musical engagement before they start attending. The participant will then be invited to attend a weekly singing group on Zoom for ten weeks and the questionnaires will then be repeated. An interview may also take place.

The project is being undertaken by Justine Schneider, Professor of Mental Health and Social Care at Nottingham University and Professor Martin Orrell, Director of the Institute of Mental Health, who says:

“Many of us love to sing, we know it releases endorphins or ‘feel good’ chemicals and the social aspect of group signing contributes towards brain health. The benefits of music and singing for those with dementia are even more pronounced and since group singing has sadly had to stop during the pandemic we’re keen to see if taking part in virtual signing groups can be just as effective.

“So if you like to sing but haven’t had a chance to sing in a group recently, I encourage you to sign up. The sessions will be fun and informal and led by experienced musicians.”

This study is open until 18 June 2021 and is funded by the Alzheimer’s Society.

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.