Whether it is coming from a volunteer’s nimble fingers at the piano, Claire’s guitar, or through our iPod speakers, music often fills the rooms of Gianna Homes. In addition to the smiles and entertainment a musician can bring to our residents, music therapists can further enhance the lives of those with all types of dementia including Alzheimer’s Disease, Young Onset Alzheimer’s, Frontal Temporal Dementia (FTD), Lewy Body Disease, Dual-Diagnoses, Vascular Dementia, and the many other varying forms of memory loss.
What is music therapy?
Music therapy is the clinical use of music interventions to accomplish non-musical goals. Music therapists design treatment programs using music to manage stress, reduce pain, enhance memory, teach skills, and provide opportunities for interaction. These credentialed professionals are trained to do so through an approved undergraduate-degree program, supervised clinical work, and an internship. Not only do music therapists work in long term care facilities, but they can also be found in schools, psychiatric facilities, hospitals, private practice clinics, and other locations.
What does music therapy do for those with dementia?
Benefits of music therapy are supported by research published in peer-reviewed journals. Specific interventions, when designed by a music therapist to accommodate for individual abilities and needs, can be beneficial to those with dementia in a number of ways.
- Memory recall, reminisce, and life review
- Positive change in mood
- Opportunities for choice and a sense of success
- Increased attention and awareness of environment
- Reduction in stress and anxiety
- Management of pain
- Positive sensory stimulation
- Cue for speech and vocalizations
- Opportunities to interact with peers, family, and caregivers
- Creation of legacy items such as a CD recording
For more information, please visit the American Music Therapy Association Website: www.musictherapy.org