Geriatrics is the field of health care focused on care for older adults. Experts suggest that our current geriatrics workforce needs better preparation to care for the 5.7 million people living with dementia in this country. To help meet this challenge, the Institute of Medicine has called for enhancing educational and training programs for improving the competence of the workforce, and to ensure that our workforce reaches the level needed to serve the growing population of older adults with dementia.
Despite these ongoing efforts, the shortage of geriatricians makes it difficult to meet these urgent educational needs. For this study, a team of researchers looked “outside the box” to learn more about whether creative solutions could offer valuable opportunities for addressing these issues. In this new study, the researchers outlined the results and outcomes of an undergraduate service-learning course that used music and filmmaking to teach person-centered approaches to dementia.
The course, which included music, filmmaking, and reflective writing components, focused on service at local dementia care settings and was conducted in collaboration with Music & Memory, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing personalized music playlists to people living with dementia or other serious medical challenges.
The three-credit undergraduate service-learning course was developed and taught by a music professor over three consecutive semesters with 16 to 18 students each term.
The students worked in pairs at one of two dementia care settings. Students received initial classroom training on dementia, ethnomusicology (music anthropology), ethnographic fieldwork methods (the technical term for expert research based on studying people and culture), filmmaking basics, and creative aging. Continue reading