Giving Voice Initiative Research

In summer 2015, University of Minnesota researchers Helen Q. Kivnick, Ph.D., LP, LICSW, and Sarah Swenson, D. Phil., documented the benefits experienced by 16 singers in the Minneapolis Giving Voice chorus. In individual interviews and focus groups, people with early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias noted increased self-esteem, confidence and a strong sense of belonging after singing. They reported greater attention, learning, mastery and a shared degree of purpose and hope. Care partners reported increased enjoyment, new friendships, personal growth and a decrease in caregiving burden. Couples noted improved relationships and a renewal of family togetherness.

The St. Paul Giving Voice chorus is the site of a new music and dementia study named CHORD. Conducted by the HealthPartners Center for Memory and Aging, the project is a pre- and post-test observational study to assess the impact of the Giving Voice program on the singers with memory loss and their care partners.

Other Research of Note

Investigating group singing activity with people with dementia and their caregivers. Davidson J.W. and Fedele J. (2016)

Music and Memory in Alzheimer’s Disease and The Potential Underlying Mechanisms. Peck K., Girard T., Russo F., Fiocco A. (2016)

The role of music in the lives of older adults with dementia aging in place: A scoping review. Elliot M. and Gardner P. (2016)

Clinical and Demographic Factors Associated with the Cognitive and Emotional Efficacy of Regular Musical Activities in Dementia. Särkämö T., Laitinen S., Numminen A., Kurki M., Johnson J.K., Rantanen P. (2015)

Long Term Musical Memory Spared in Alzheimer’s Patients. Jacobsen J., et al. (2015)

Singing for the brain: A qualitative study exploring the health and well-being benefits. Osman S., et al. (2014)

Singing and Music have Benefits for Alzheimer’s. Maguire L., Wanschura P., Battaglia M., et al. (2013)

Cognitive, emotional, and social benefits of regular musical activities in early dementia: randomized controlled study. Sarkamo T., et al. (2013)

Music as a memory enhancer in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Simmons-Sterna N., Budsona A., Brandon A. (2010)

Music Boosts Memory in Alzheimer’s. Seligson S. (2010)

Memory for Music in AD: Unforgettable? Baird A. and Samson S. (2009)