Music Therapy and Dementia

Music therapy has been used in nursing homes and senior care facilities since the 1940s.

When I was a student, some friends and I visited elderly shut-ins on occasion to bring a little music to their lives. Sometimes those elderly people–some suffering from forms of dementia–would simply listen and tap their feet or clap their hands. At other times they’d let loose and sing along. Either way, I saw people come out of their shells every time I sat at the piano.

Happy Senior Couple

If you factor in the informal use of music in senior care facilities to help enrich seniors’ lives, it goes back a lot further.  There probably hasn’t been a time when people haven’t been aware–at least to some degree–of the restorative powers of music.

Dr. Concetta Tomaino is the executive director and co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function. In a Huffington Post report on music therapy and dementia, Tomaino says, “Music is an essential bridge to connecting people with dementia and Alzheimer’s to themselves, their loved ones and their personal history.”

This belief is becoming more and more widespread, and music therapy is becoming a more common tool in helping people suffering from forms of dementia restore parts of their memory and show flashes of their old selves.

If you’re skeptical about the power of music to work its wonders on seniors suffering form dementia, watch “Alive Inside,” which shows what happened to one nursing home resident who was reintroduced to his favorite music. Not only does Henry, the gentleman in the video, seem to come to life as he listens to the music he loved, and clearly still loves, but his exposure to music even seems to restore his ability to communicate lucidly. Check the video for yourself and see if you don’t agree Henry undergoes an amazing transformation.

A Wall Street Journal report on music therapy suggests that the brain appears to be wired for music. There seems to be increasing evidence that this is the case–and, if it is, we can expect increasing acceptance and use of music therapy as a means of restoring brain function for many years to come.

If music therapy is something that your doctor recommends, then a medicare advantage or medicare supplement plan can help cover the costs.

Where do you stand on this issue? Please leave a message below telling us how you view music therapy and its potential contributions to senior health.

Contact Medicaremall to get the medicare plan that is right for you.

Music Therapy and Dementia © 2012


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