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Music Therapy for Dementia - A Very Powerful Tool

Posted by Administrator on 1/25/2014 to Dementia Activities

Guest article by Music Therapist and Creator of Music Through Life DVD's, Kristin Shields

What is Music Therapy?

The answer to the question "What is music therapy?" may be different for every person who experiences it. The simple, standard definition is that music therapy is using music to achieve non-musical goals. These goals will usually address physical, social,spiritual, cognitive and/or emotional needs of the client. Music therapy can help children with autism, assist women during childbirth, support those who are in recovery for addiction, aid in pain management, and can benefit countless other populations as well. My experience as a music therapist is mainly with seniors who have some form of memory loss. The seniors I have worked with have answered the question "What is music therapy?" in many different ways. Some will say that music therapy is something that allowed them to share their life story and gave them a chance to remember past experiences. Family members have said that music therapy gave them an opportunity to sing or dance with their loved one again. Some of my clients say how music therapy gave them a chance to relax, have fun and made them feel good - not only during the music therapy but after as well.

Music Therapy for Dementia

Older adults often tell me that music therapy is the best kind of therapy there is! Even those who are no longer able to express themselves verbally have told me about music therapy in their own way - through smiles, humming or singing, tapping their toes, clapping their hands, and playing instruments. Music therapy for dementia can be a powerful tool.

Because I have seen evidence of this in my own music therapy practice, I wanted to turn some of my music therapy sessions for seniors into DVDs. They can provide a wonderful therapeutic music session when access to a music therapist is not possible. These DVDs include familiar songs sung by the music therapist on screen, and are each centered around a theme designed specifically to promote reminiscing, social interaction, cognitive stimulation and life enrichment.

Music experience is not needed to either lead the session or participate in the session. I have heard such positive things about these DVDs, including stories of how seniors with memory loss have responded by singing,sharing stories, smiling, laughing, and interacting with peers and family members. I know that these therapeutic music DVDs have and will continue to make a difference in the lives of older adults, especially those with memory loss. It is so exciting to see all the things that music can do!

For more information on music therapy, please visit the American Music Therapy Association .

See the line of Music Through Life DVD'sNote that the sale of these DVD's will discontinue the end of February 2014, due to the expiration of copyright availabilities.

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