MUSIC THERAPY AND ALZHEIMER’S/DEMENTIA

I have recently researched the issue of keeping Alzheimer patients calm throughout their moving transition when I ran across a fabulous article about music therapy and Alzheimer’s patients.





Music as therapy is not a new or even novel idea, yet many are still not aware of how it can help with Alzheimer’s patients. Much research has gone into this topic. According to an abstract entitled “Music Therapy for Persons with Dementia” randomized clinical studies were conducted [in 2018] in order to examine the effectiveness of music intervention relative to non-music, verbal discussion activities in patients with dementia. Board-certified music therapists were assigned to randomly selected nursing homes in order to conduct these therapy sessions.


This study as well as others done at prominent research facilities such as the Mayo Clinic have also proven music is indeed a catalyst for promoting cognitive functions in patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.




ALZHEIMER’S MUSIC THERAPY PORTRAYED IN FILM

Dr. Oliver Sacks, a renowned neurologist and psychologist at Columbia University Medical Center best known for his 1973 book Awakenings, which became an Academy Award-nominated film starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, and who also wrote Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, testified at the Hearing before the Senate Special Committee on Aging entitled, “Forever Young: Music and Aging,” and issued this statement:

The power of music is very remarkable... [emp. added] One sees Parkinsonian patients unable to walk, but able to dance perfectly well or patients almost unable to talk, who are able to sing perfectly well... I think that music therapy and music therapists are crucial and indispensable in institutions for elderly people and among neurologically disabled patients.

In 2014, a movie entitled “Alive Inside” won the Audience Award for Documentaries in the U.S. at the Sundance Film Festival. This film deals with the subject of people suffering from Alzheimer's disease and how music therapy can help and ease their suffering. An informative trailer of this film can be viewed on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HLEr-zP3fc

So, how do you find out more about this remarkable therapy or how to find a music therapist? Just visit the website for American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) at https://www.musictherapy.org/ There you can find a tremendous amount of information on this subject including podcasts and research journals involving music therapy. Music Therapy is defined as “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.

Music therapy interventions can be designed to:

  • Promote Wellness

  • Manage Stress

  • Alleviate Pain

  • Express Feelings

  • Enhance Memory

  • Improve Communication

  • Promote Physical Rehabilitation

It has been said that music comforts patients, whether young or old, who have cognitive issues. I say that “music is a cushion for the soul.”


Therefore, when you are ready for a move with your dementia senior, try using music to calm them as they make their transition to their new home.


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