Giving Voice to Expressions of Quality of Life for Persons Living With Dementia Through Story, Music, and Art
Mitchell, Gail J.
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The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to give voice to expressions of quality of life for persons who live with dementia and who reside in long-term care, primarily on locked cognitive support units.With the assistance of music and art therapists, mediums of music and art were offered as a way for participants to further describe their quality of life. Eight key messages emerged from the descriptions about what life was like for the 17 participants: feeling content, importance of relationships, choosing an attitude for living on, feeling worthy, wishes for freedom amid restrictions, living with loss, struggles with thinking and communicating, and persisting with life patterns. The open-ended questions used in this study may be considered for future research as well as in practice with persons who live with dementia even in the latter part of their journey. Ultimately, it is hoped that the findings described here will enhance understanding of what life is like for persons living with dementia, in order to diminish any unnecessary suffering that can emerge with lack of understanding.