"It's the Way You Sing It": Translating Music Therapy for Isolated Older Adults Affected by Covid-19 to the Television Screen
Date of Award
MA - Master of Arts
Dr. Raquel Stephenson
The current Covid-19 pandemic has increased the likelihood of loneliness and social isolation among older adults due to the restrictions on movement and visitations in care facilities. Loneliness and social isolation have consistently been identified as risk factors for poor mental and physical health in older people. Meanwhile, a growing number of older adults are utilizing technological resources to enhance their interpersonal relationships and overall quality of life. In the winter of 2020/2021, an innovative music therapy-informed television program was designed and produced for isolated older adults in need of mental and emotional support. This project, produced jointly by a senior living facility and a community television station in Haverhill, Massachusetts, resulted in a 6-episode television program which offered music, trivia, and discussions organized around the themes of the holidays, friendship, self-care, gratitude, resilience, and loss. Results demonstrated that the use of music to engage older adults virtually through a television program was effective in decreasing symptoms of loneliness in participating individuals as well as in increasing interest in musical engagement. Results also demonstrated increased self-confidence among residents of the senior living facility who were featured on the television program, as well as increased interest in peer socialization. Operating from a resource-oriented framework and informed by community music therapy, this research project advocates for a strengths-based rather than a pathology-based approach to health and questions the traditional boundaries between a performance space and a therapeutic space. Through this capstone thesis, this author advocates for innovation and creativity in resourcing technology to meet the growing mental health needs of older adults.
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Wong, Eunice, ""It's the Way You Sing It": Translating Music Therapy for Isolated Older Adults Affected by Covid-19 to the Television Screen" (2021). Expressive Therapies Capstone Theses. 505.
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