Exploring the potential benefits of an online music-based meditation programme for family carers of people with dementia





music, mindfulness, music-based meditation, family carers, dementia, online, psychosocial support


This study explores the potential psychosocial benefits of an online music-based meditation programme for family carers of people with dementia. Previous literature identifies the benefits of music and mindfulness in separate capacities for the promotion of wellbeing, positive mood and reducing isolation for family carers of people with dementia. No known literature currently exists combining meditation and music online specifically for this demographic. Thirteen family carers were recruited and participated in the study, attending a 30-minute session each week over four weeks. Additional music-based meditation resources were provided to be accessed outside the intervention at a time convenient to the participants. Data was collected through eight in-depth semi-structured interviews post intervention and analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). There was an overall positive response from participants as the majority noted that participation in the programme had a positive impact on their mood, provided an opportunity to relax and practice self-care, process difficult emotions, and reduce feelings of social isolation. The facilitation of the programme in an online format allowed participants to access the intervention from the comfort of their home environment and negated potential barriers such as organising care, geographical location, mobility issues or access to transport. Findings from this study can be used as a base on which to develop further research in this area.

Author Biographies

Lisa Kelly, University of Limerick, Ireland

Lisa Kelly is a music therapist from Galway, Ireland. She completed her doctoral research at the University of Limerick in 2023 which explored the potential role of telehealth music therapy to support people with dementia and their family caregivers living in the community. Lisa is the co-founder of Anam Music Therapy, a social enterprise based in Ireland. [lisa.kelly@ul.ie]

Katie Togher, University of Limerick, Ireland

Katie Togher graduated from the University of Limerick in 2022. She has worked as a music therapist in the areas of autism, learning disabilities, mental health and neurological conditions. She is the founder of KT Music Therapy based in the west of Ireland. [ktmusictherapy@outlook.com]

Rosie Connolly, University of Limerick, Ireland

Rosie Connolly is a music therapist and professional vocalist and musician from Sligo, Ireland. She graduated from the MA Music Therapy in 2022 and is the founder of Cara Music Therapy. [caramusictherapy@gmail.com]

Betty Killeen, University of Limerick, Ireland

Betty Killeen is a graduate of the MA Music Therapy at the University of Limerick. She is working full time as a music therapist with MHA CareHomes in North West London, working primarily with people with dementia. Betty is currently involved in MusiCare, a Middlesex University Research Group investigating the impact of music therapy on older adults’ cognition and wellbeing. [betty.killeen@mha.org.uk]

Ita Richardson, University of Limerick, Ireland

Ita Richardson is Professor of Software Quality in the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at the University of Limerick. [ita.richardson@lero.ie]

Hilary Moss, University of Limerick, Ireland

Hilary Moss is an Associate Professor and Course Director of the MA Music Therapy at The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. [hilary.moss@ul.ie]