Music Therapy as an Interactive Rehabilitation Tool for People with Alzheimer’s: Ergonomical Issues

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: G. AndreonibA. CarpentieroaF. CostaaS. MuschiatoaL. Spreaficoc

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to report the process to develop a new interactive tool for Alzheimer disease that utilizes music therapy. It is a design approach based on users’ needs, which involves the collaboration between patients, doctors, music therapists and designers, in order to develop a tool that can effectively works with patient’s memories. The work process was based on a multidisciplinary approach, and demonstrates how it is possible influence in a positive way different kind of patients, stimulating their lost memories with a new music therapy tool. The analysis work about the patients’ mental health, and their musical memories, was a fundamental part of the design process; the integration of new technologies – and the acceptance of those -, was one of the first goals that we wanted to achieve during the interaction between the product and the patient. With the assistance of an expert in music therapy, we have been able to integrate traditional tools for medical evaluation of memory and cognitive deterioration with new stimuli from the past life memories. When we finished designing the product, we conducted an evaluative test; this is the methodological process that we used to conduct it:a. Preparation:Setting: a room with no distractions, in order to create a relaxing environment that would not distract the patient’s attention.Staff: Music therapist / psychologistInclusion criteria: patients suffering from dementia (Alzheimer's) MMSE score = 15-20 (intermediate phase).We have chosen the interaction with patients undergoing intermediate because, since they still have good verbal expressive capabilities, they could directly, and more easily, provide important insights and analysis reflections.b. Tracks selection:6 tracks were needed in order for the test to take place; those tracks needed to be known and significant to the test subject. Tracks were selected following the directions of the medical director of the facility. We selected 30 tracks: in this way it would have been possible to select the 6 that would suit the patient best. The songs were divided into three categories: classical, traditional, light jazz.c. TestTo establish a communication channel linked to the archaic manipulation and sounds, from which arise the emotions of the person, speaking on the same conducting sound variations .After explaining in simple words what the object is, it is asked to press one of the buttons placed on the faces of the cube.After the button is pressed, a song previously selected is played; the therapist asks to the patients if he knows the song and if he likes it. After the patient has familiarized with the object, he is asked to press a button he has already pushed; then the therapist asks if he recognizes the song associated to the same button.

Keywords: Music Therapy, Alzheimer’s Disease, User Centered Design

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe100497

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