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Music Therapy for Dementia Care

Posted by Administrator on 1/19/2013 to Dementia Activities

Individuals with dementia can have periods of anxiety or agitation. Potential causes for this include frustration, worry, and boredom. This poses a challenge for caregivers, as they search for dementia activities to provide cognitive stimulation, while avoiding feelings of frustration and failure.

One activity that has been proven successful in dementia care, is the use of music. The parts of the brain that have to do with music and emotional memory are often less affected by dementia. Therefore, music may stimulate and connect with people with dementia in a way that spoken words cannot. People in late stages of dementia, who rarely speak, have been noted to come alive to music being played, singing along or tapping their foot.

According to 2011 research published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, music therapy with dementia can:                      
  • Reduce agitation 
  • Improve moods 
  • Provide a trigger for remembering the past
  • Provide a failure-free activity that can be easily incoporated into the day
MindStart now offers Music Through Life DVDs.  The DVDs are led by a music therapist and are designed to to facilitate social interaction, cognitive and sensory stimulation, reminiscing, and life enrichment for older adults, especially those with memory loss.
Two formats are included on each DVD:
  • An interactive format for when a facilitator is available to lead.
  • A continuous play format led by the music therapist, where no facilitator is needed.
13 different DVD sessions are offered, including The Outdoors; Occupations; and America. Each DVD includes a guide booklet which can help facilitate conversations about the topic of the DVD and the songs sung. The DVD's allow the benefit of music therapy to easily and affordably be brought right to individuals living with dementia.
If you’d like to use this article in your own newsletter or on your web site, you are welcome to reprint it in its entirety with an active link to our web site and the following author info: “By Monica Heltemes, Occupational Therapist and Owner of MindStart.  Providing cognitive stimulation, engagement and joy for people living with dementia - visit www.mind-start.com."

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