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Designing Supportive Soundscapes for Nursing Home Residents With Dementia

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Designing Supportive Soundscapes for Nursing Home Residents With Dementia

Paul Devos et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health.

Abstract

Sound and its resulting soundscape is a major appraisal component of the living environment. Where environmental sounds (e.g., outdoor traffic sounds) are often perceived as negative, a soundscape (e.g., containing natural sounds) can also have a positive effect on health and well-being. This supportive effect of a soundscape is getting increasing attention for use in practice. This paper addresses the design of a supportive sonic environment for persons with dementia in nursing homes. Starting from a review of key mechanisms related to sonic perception, cognitive deficits and related behavior, a framework is derived for the composition of a sonic environment for persons with dementia. The proposed framework is centered around using acoustic stimuli for influencing mood, stimulating the feeling of safety and triggering a response in a person. These stimuli are intended to be deployed as added sounds in a nursing home to improve the well-being and behavior of the residents.

Keywords: ageing; dementia; nursing homes; sonic environment; supportive soundscape.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Human perception model: from sonic environment to soundscape appraisal (adapted from [21]). The surprise text balloons indicate some possible deficits resulting in e.g., deviant appraisal (upper left): impaired perception of sound features; (lower left): impaired recognition of sounds; (right): impaired perception of auditory scenes and objects.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Schematic representation of the soundscape intervention introducing the added composed soundscape targeted to the desired behavioral response.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Representation of the nursing home soundscape design model, illustrating the 3 main behavior influencers with their expected outcomes, as scheduled over a diurnal pattern following the needs of a specific persona.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Illustration of a soundscape intervention: (left) photograph of a sleeping room setting with a soundscape player indicated with a red circle, (right) diurnal pattern of a composed soundscape with a weekly structure.
Figure 5
Figure 5
Ternary plot illustrating the mixing (relative importance indicated in percentages) of the mood, safety and response triggering aspects of the different acoustic stimuli: (1) Birdsong, (2) Wind, (3) Bell, (4) Cafetaria, (5) Typewriter, (6) Music, (7) Heartbeat as considered in a specific context. The saturation level of the color indicates the strength of the effects.

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