The impact of singing on the language abilities of people with moderate to severe-stage Alzheimer's disease
While singing in music therapy with people with Alzheimer's disease (AD) is vastly documented, scarce research deals with the impact of singing on their language abilities. This study addressed the issue of language decline in AD and explored the impact of group singing on the language abilities of people with moderate to severe-stage AD. Participants were randomized to experimental (n=16) or wait-list control (n=14) groups. The experimental group received eight music therapy group sessions, which focused on singing, while both groups received the standard treatment. The data analysis included pre-post picture description tests and examination of speech parameters throughout the group sessions. A significant difference was demonstrated between the groups in the proportion of non-coherent speech in relation to total speech used by participants. The experimental group did not exhibit a deterioration in coherent speech, while the control group exhibited an increase in non-coherent speech in proportion to the total speech used by participants. The findings also indicated that participants in the experimental group showed an improvement in speech parameters as well as in their ability to sing. Singing in music therapy with people with AD can play a significant role in preserving speech and encouraging conversation abilities.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, music therapy, group singing, language abilities, speech
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