Despite the progression of dementia, a person’s need to relate to and interact with other human beings remains. Not meeting a person's psychosocial needs may cause behavioural and psychological symptoms and further result in prescriptions of pharmacological treatment. According to a person-centred understanding of dementia, it is possible to decrease behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia and reduce the prescription of pharmacological medication when psychosocial needs are met. This happens according to Tom Kitwood through positive interactions and it therefore becomes the carer’s task is to pick up communicative signals from the person with dementia and respond back in a way that gives meaning and context, and where the person feels acknowledged.
In order to expand knowledge on caregiving, this study will explore and map gestures, expression and non-verbal signals that take place in mutual communication between persons with severe dementia and their carers. The group focus on the role of communicative musicality in reciprocal contact and define this as Person Attuned Musical Interaction, PAMI. Music therapists are trained in using musical interactions and be explicit about musical components such as rhythm and timing. Music therapy sessions are based on person attuned musical interactions. Such interactions are also important in activities and daily care, and therefore the group aim to identify the core components for attuned and reciprocal musical interactions and from this to develop and evaluate one or more PAMI manuals. The aim is to support carers through knowledge creation, skills sharing and indirect music therapy practice.