Musical Connections: A Descriptive Study of Community-Based Choirs for Persons with Dementia and their Caregivers

Zach Anderson, Debra Sheets


This descriptive qualitative study explores the key characteristics, benefits, and lessons learned from community-based choirs for persons with dementia (PwD) and their caregivers based on reports from choir administrators and directors. Although there is growing interest in choirs for PwD, there has been no synthesis of information on these choirs. Semi-structured interviews were conducted between December 2016 and February 2017 with six administrators and/or directors of community-based choirs for PwD and their caregivers. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Content analyses indicated that choirs had many similarities in membership (e.g., early to mid-stage dementia), establishing formal sections (e.g., soprano, alto, tenor, bass), administration (e.g., leadership, fees), and music programming (e.g., public performance, duration, and length of practice sessions). Benefits of the choir include enjoyment, sense of purpose, empowerment, caregiver support and respite, and increased awareness of dementia by others. In conclusion, this descriptive study suggests that community-based choirs are a cost effective and valuable program that improve quality of life for PwD and caregivers.


social inclusion; dementia; family caregivers; community choir; intergenerational

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Copyright (c) 2017 Zach Anderson


This journal is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 Unported License.


ISSN 1923-1334 (Online)

University of Victoria