The acceptability and efficacy of using iPads in music therapy to support wellbeing with older adults: A pilot study.

The acceptability and efficacy of using iPads in music therapy to support wellbeing with older adults: A pilot study.

Abstract

Portable technology has the potential to help support the wellbeing of older adults living in the community, particularly when targeting the health risk factors of social isolation and low self-esteem. This mixed-method feasibility study investigated the acceptability and efficacy of using iPads1 compared to traditional music instruments (TMI) with older adults living privately in the community. Five women, 71 – 96 years old, were recruited from a community-based day respite centre in Brisbane. Participants were randomly assigned to either the TMI or iPad group, and engaged in five sessions of activity-based music therapy. Participants completed journal entries following each session to detail their experiences, and were assessed for levels of perceived social isolation and global self-esteem pre- and postintervention. Five themes were found for acceptability of iPads: learning was inherent to all sessions, differences in mood outcomes, differences in emotional communications, playing on an iPad resulted in greater creativity and freedom, and the importance of the environmental and structural considerations. There were no significant differences on scores of social isolation or self-esteem either between (TMI vs. iPad) or within (pre- vs. post-test) the treatment groups, however themes of developing social cohesion, group identity, and enhanced positive self-concepts suggest both iPads and TMIs contributed towards factors of wellbeing for the participants. Collectively, the encouraging findings present an entry point in illustrating that technology can be an acceptable and potentially successful tool for use in music therapy with older people living in the community.

 

Keywords: older adults, iPads, technology, wellbeing


Citation

Engelbrecht, R., & Shoemark, H. (2015). The acceptability and efficacy of using iPads in music therapy to support wellbeing with older adults: A pilot study. Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 26, 52-73.


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Date published: July 2015