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MUSIC THERAPY AND DEMENTIA

Despite extensive memory loss, people living with dementia retain the ability to sing familiar songs from their childhood. As the disease progresses, people living with dementia can become socially isolated as they lose their story. Music is a valuable tool to promote expression, social interaction and improve quality of life for this population.

There has been an increased interest in non-pharmacological interventions to promote improved quality of life for people living with dementia. An intervention which is particularly effective is music therapy. Despite increasing cognitive decline, people living with dementia retain to the ability to sing familiar songs from their childhood and teenage years. This makes music a highly beneficial and supportive tool for connecting with people living with dementia - even if only temporarily.
 

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Our person-centered approach enables our music therapists to connect with people living with dementia at the various stages of the disease. We sensitively work with, and respond to, what the person can do, focusing on their movement, breathing and vocal sounds.
 
Music can help ease anxiety and disorientation, unlock memories, reduce isolation and help people regain their sense of identity. This feeling of being ‘connected’ is vital for people living with dementia, their caregivers, family and friends.

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Music therapy differs from other music-based interventions or music performances delivered by musicians in several ways

HOW DOES MUSIC THERAPY DIFFER FROM OTHER MUSIC-BASED INTERVENTIONS OR MUSIC PERFORMANCES BY MUSICIANS?

PERSON-CENTERED

Music therapy is person-centered: Music therapy sessions focus on validating the person's sense of personhood, promoting their identity and drawing upon their life story.

DEVELOPING A RELATIONSHIP

Music therapy involves the development of a therapeutic relationship between the music therapist and the client through music. Music therapy involves making music WITH the person rather than to or at them. This may involve familiar song singing, instrument play, reminiscence, movement to music or songwriting. 

GOAL ORIENTED

Music therapy is goal oriented. Music therapy involves the use of music based methods to achieve non-musical goals. This may include promoting social interaction, motor skills, and cognitive function, for example.

FOCUS ON ABILITY

Music therapy focuses on the person's ability. We tailor the sessions to the person's awareness level and ability. For example, the music therapist might involve a person in a verbal reflection on a significant piece of music, engage a person with moderate dementia in therapeutic songwriting or respond musically to a person with advanced dementia’s vocalizations. The improvisatory nature of live music affords the music therapist opportunities to mirror and musically reflect responses such as changes in breathing, eye movement, or vocalization, supporting meaningful connection.

Oliver Sacks

"Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears - it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more - it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity"

HOW CAN MUSIC THERAPY HELP?

For people living with dementia, music therapy has been proven to promote...

SOCIAL INTERACTION

REDUCE AGITATION

 IMPROVED QUALITY OF LIFE

OPPORTUNITIES FOR SELF EXPRESSION AND NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION

CONTACT
ANAM MUSIC THERAPY

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