Thursday, July 25, 2024
HomePatientMusic Therapy For Dementia Patients

Music Therapy For Dementia Patients

Implications Of Cst Research

Music Used As Therapy For Dementia Patients

Much more in depth research is needed to confirm the efficacy of these types of programs long-term, rather than singularly. It should be noted that these treatments can only provide the client with a positive, creatively enriching environment where they are free to express whatever comes to mind.

Instead of medically-based treatments, which will not necessarily help the individual, SLPs must look to unique ways of maintaining cognitive connections in the brain so that the individuals quality of life can either improve or sustain. It is hoped this can be accomplished with creative, non-pharmacologic approaches, such as music therapy.


  • Alzheimers Association.
  • American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry . Caring for the Alzheimers disease patient. Retreived from
  • Alzheimers Foundation of America . Education and care. Retrieved from
  • Matthews, S. . Dementia and the Power of Music Therapy. Bioethics. 29,573-579.
  • TimeSlips:
  • Grabowski, T. J., & Damasio, A. R. . Definition, clinical features, and neuroanatomical basis of dementia. In Esiri, M., Lee, V., and Trojanowski, J. . Neuropathology of dementia . UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • American Speech and Hearing Association . Dementia. Retrieved from
  • Resources

    A Novel Music Intervention Fosters An Emotional Connection Between Patients And Their Caregivers

    Dementia patients often lose their ability to communicate verbally with loved ones as the condition progresses. However, a recent study by Northwestern Medicine and the Institute for Therapy through the Arts demonstrates how this gap can be overcome with a novel music intervention.

    In the intervention, which was developed at ITA and named Musical Bridges to Memory, a live ensemble plays music from a patients youth such as songs from the musicals Oklahoma or The Sound of Music. According to the studys authors, this builds an emotional connection between a patient and their caregivers by enabling them to participate together in musical activities such as singing, dancing, and simple instrument playing.

    Additionally, the program improved patients social engagement and decreased neuropsychiatric symptoms including agitation, anxiety, and depression in both patients and caregivers.

    It is currently estimated that Alzheimers affects more than 6 million individuals in the United States alone.

    According to the researchs lead author, Dr. Borna Bonakdarpour, the study is unique since it targeted both dementia patients and the caregivers who support them. The majority of earlier research on music therapy for dementia patients has only focused on the patients.

    The study was recently published in the journal Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders.

    Musical memory and processing are not as affected by Alzheimers

    How the study worked

    All could relate to their loved one

    Things To Be Aware Of

    Start with gentle, quiet music. But make the music a focal point, so consider putting a record, tape or CD on in front of the person and adjusting the volume as applicable.

    Music can awaken negative emotions as well as positive ones, so watch the person closely for any signs of discomfort and turn the music off if you think it is causing undue distress. Expressing sadness may be a normal reaction to a strong memory or association to the music and just sitting with the person during this time may be the best response.

    Read Also: How Many Stages Does Alzheimer’s Disease Have

    Music As Medicine: Music Can Help Dementia Patients

    When we think of Subway sandwiches or State Farm Insurance, we easily recall their annoying commercial jingles. There’s a reason these earworms get stuck in our head: Music helps us remember what we learn.

    In dementia patients, music doesn’t just help with brand recognition it also helps in face recognition and recalling memories. According to a 2010 study at Boston University, Alzheimer’s patients who underwent a series of memory tests remembered more lyrics when they were set to music rather than just spoken.

    Music training can improve auditory verbal memory and auditory attention. Although most people are visual learners, music practice can help us become better auditory learners. Then, down the road when we’re in a non-musical learning situation, we can retain information more easily.

    Music memory lodges deep in our auditory cortex because of its strong emotional connection, and simply because our brain loves to hear it. Music recognition is one of the last things to go as memory declines. A simple melody can become a powerful mnemonic device when trying to learn something such as when to take medication or eat lunch. Listening to music from their youth can trigger past memories and help restore some sense of identity in dementia patients. Adding rhythm to a patient’s life can also improve mood.

    Does Music Therapy Enhance Behavioral

    Best Music for Dementia Patients

    I have uploaded the article Zhang et al., 2017 Does music therapy enhance behavioral and cognitive function in elderly dementia patients? A systematic review and meta-analysis1. Fill out the table highlighted in yellow pertaining to article by Zhang2. Write the Synthesis on both Zhang et al., 2017 and McCreedy et al., 2021 .

    You Want Quality and Thats What We Deliver

    You May Like: Is There Help For Dementia

    How Does The Mjhs Keys To Dementia Care Campaign Benefit This Therapy

    The MJHS Keys to Dementia Care program supports music therapy by opening the world of music and music-making for patients and their families. We train staff on music-assisted care techniques to decrease negative symptoms of dementia and to enhance our patients quality of life.

    If you need more information on how art and music can help patients with dementia or how you can help support the MJHS Keys to Dementia Care program, our staff of caregivers is ready to help.

    Music Therapy In The Treatment Of Dementia: A Systematic Review And Meta

    • 1Department of Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Biochemistry, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain
    • 2School of Nursing and Physiotherapy, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain
    • 3Regional Centre for Biomedical Research, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Albacete, Spain

    Background: Dementia is a neurological condition characterized by deterioration in cognitive, behavioral, social, and emotional functions. Pharmacological interventions are available but have limited effect in treating many of the disease’s features. Several studies have proposed therapy with music as a possible strategy to slow down cognitive decline and behavioral changes associated with aging in combination with the pharmacological therapy.

    Objective: We performed a systematic review and subsequent meta-analysis to check whether the application of music therapy in people living with dementia has an effect on cognitive function, quality of life, and/or depressive state.

    Methods: The databases used were Medline, PubMed Central, Embase, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Library. The search was made up of all the literature until present. For the search, key terms, such as music,brain,dementia, or clinical trial, were used.

    Don’t Miss: Is Alzheimer’s An Autoimmune Disease

    The Power Of Music Therapy For Dementia

    Caring for someone with dementia can be physically and emotionally taxing. Part of the challenge is helping your loved one manage the frequent confusion, frustration, and mood swings that often accompany such neurodegenerative diseases.

    Of course, the effects of the disease can frustrate caregivers too. Loving someone with dementia requires tremendous patience and compassion. Fortunately, there are strategies and dementiafriendly activities that help both seniors and caregivers.

    As a caregiver, one of your most powerful tools is music therapy for dementia. Music therapy soothes seniors and caregivers alike. Below, you’ll find information about music therapy, how it helps aging seniors, and what a typical session entails.

    What Is Music Therapy And How Does It Help Dementia Patients

    Music therapy helping patients with dementia: Local senior living center using music as medicine

    To begin, the definition of music therapy is the skillful use of music and musical elements by an accredited music therapist to promote, maintain, and restore mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health . Over the centuries, music has been used in a therapeutic manner. While in a health care setting, music is provided for relaxation purposes or to relieve pain in some cases. Back in World War II, musicians were asked to play for the wounded soldiers within the crowded hospitals and played for recreational purposes. The music was known to bring forward emotions within the soldiers and since that time, music has been used therapeutically. Music therapy has been used to improve the health and wellbeing of patients who are diagnosed with a variety of disorders which include Alzheimers disease and dementia as well. This therapy has been seen to evoke positive responses to its listeners. Some positive outcomes include increased self-esteem and motivation, enhanced socialization and communication, improved expression of emotions, and improved transference of information related to relaxation . Traditionally, music therapy is conducted by a music therapist and is often combined with other types of care. However, some programs do not use a music therapist to implement the activities. This method allows patients to listen to their own music of something they would be able to recognize and enjoy.

    Recommended Reading: Is Lewy Body Dementia Hereditary

    The Music & Memory Program

    The world was introduced to the Music & Memory organization through a YouTube video that went viral upon its release. The video featured a senior, Henry, who had suffered from dementia for a decade and was very withdrawn, unable to communicate until Music & Memory gave him an iPod loaded with music from his era.

    Suddenly, the man who barely spoke comes to life, reminiscing about how much he had loved dancing and listening to music in his younger years. Its an incredibly compelling video.

    The clip is part of a documentary on the Music & Memory Program, which not only provides seniors with iPods and gives them access to music, but also educates family caregivers and senior care professionals on how to create powerful personalized playlists to help people with Alzheimers and dementia reconnect with memories triggered by music.

    Dr. Laura Mosqueda, Director of Geriatrics at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, explains that because music affects so many parts of the brain, it touches areas that may not be damaged by the disease and brings those pathways to the forefront. The result is the astounding awakening that often occurs.

    Use Of Music Therapy In Some Studies

    Music Therapy has a positive effect on the problems of Alzheimer’s patients. When the literature on music therapy was examined, this study was planned due to the fact that the researches on the subject gained weight in the international arena and because of the lack of studies in the national field. When the national and international literature on the subject is examined Guetin, et al. studied 30 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease in a randomized controlled study. The experimental group was played three days a week for two hours with selected individuals. In the control group reading sessions were performed. Measurements were performed with Hamilton depression scale and geriatric depression scale at 0, 1, 4, 8, 16 and 24 weeks. Improvements were observed in the experimental group at 16 and 24 weeks. There was a decrease in the symptoms of anxiety and depression. The music therapy effect was maintained for 8 weeks and it was found that individuals felt well during and after the application and they were also successful in preserving and transferring the information in short-term memory to long-term memory.

    Don’t Miss: How Does Dementia And Alzheimer’s Cause Death

    Singing For The Brain

    Singing for the Brain, which is run by the Alzheimers Society in 30 different locations nationwide, aims to boost confidence, self esteem and quality of life by involving people with dementia and their carers in interactive sing-song sessions.

    It started when founder Chreanne Montgomery-Smith, while working in a nursing home, noticed how many residents responded positively to music. ‘One of the activities I did with them was a quiz which involved playing familiar tunes.

    ‘The first week I did it nobody sang, the second week a few people joined in. By the third week everybody was singing along. One lady who didnt know her own name knew every song in the quiz and sang them all.

    ‘It made me realise that people with dementia had a special ability to remember songs. Even if people with dementia cant talk, they may be able to sing, whistle, clap or tap their feet. It helps them, and their carers, to feel life is worthwhile.’

    What Does A Music Therapy Session Look Like

    Four Ways Music Therapy Can Help Persons with Dementia #MusicTherapy # ...

    Music is one of the most powerful, accessible ways to connect with a loved one suffering from cognitive decline. This new way of breaking through and touching older adults with music is rapidly growing in popularity and acceptance.

    But what does music therapy look like?

    In the following video, watch Amy Standridge, MM, MTBC, conduct a music therapy group session. Amy has been a boardcertified music therapist since the year 2000. She loves what she does and wants to share the benefits of music therapy with others by showing you what an actual session might look like.

    Recommended Reading: Does Dementia Weaken The Immune System

    What Is Music Therapy

    Music therapy, along with other types of expressive therapies, uses the arts to provide psycho-social support to seniors. It can be used to help seniors with a wide range of issues, including depression, anxiety, pain, changes in health status, or difficulty adjusting to a new living environment.

    Expressive therapies also include other modalities like art, poetry, and movement. Expressive therapists are masters-level mental health counselors who also have formal training in their chosen art form. Leticia uses singing, piano, viola, percussion, and guitar to engage seniors during therapy sessions, encouraging them to participate at whatever level is appropriate for their abilities.

    What A Music Therapist Does

    A music therapist is trained to use music as a tool to help participants meet their wellness goals, which include the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of those they serve. In order for them to develop a treatment plan, they will begin with an assessment to learn more about the participants medical history, personal history, preferences, and challenges. Then, they will develop a plan of care that details music interventions that will help the participant work toward those goals.

    Music therapists use a variety of interventions with participants, including sing-a-long sessions, breathing exercises, drumming, and other movements set to music. They can even play music for the participant, which is something you see often with those living with dementia, especially in the later stages of the disease. For example, it is common for music therapists to be on the staff of hospice organizations, arriving to play the harp or other instrument for seniors who receive hospice care.

    Also Check: Can Early Alzheimer’s Be Reversed

    Music Therapy And Cognition Social And Emotional Functioning

    A study was conducted where behavior was observed and recorded to determine the effects music therapy had on patients with dementia and their behavioral patterns. The conductors of the research were Gerdner and Swanson , and they discovered that when they compared baseline levels of agitation with agitated levels during music therapy, it was shown that there was a reduction in agitation when music was playing. More so when it was music that patients recognized from their past. These results showed that there was some delay to the intervention and many patients reacted hours after the study took place. They concluded that this was because Alzheimers patients have a delay in reaction time and take a substantial amount of time to process the music. How musical memories are stored in our brains have a significant effect on those elderly patients with dementia. With interpreting music and listening to the sounds and lyrics, it involves all cognitive functions of our brain. Both language and music are complex processes that are affected by dementia. Vink speaks about our two cerebral hemispheres and how each hemisphere receives sensory information and controls movement on the side of the body opposite its location . Music skills are often preserved where care takers and health professionals note that music seems to stimulate verbal functioning as well.

    Efficacy Of Musical Intervention In Cognitive Function

    Music therapy helps elderly with Alzheimers and dementia recall long-term memories

    Figure 2 summarizes the relevant results of the quantitative synthesis of the effect of music therapy for people living with dementia. First, we evaluated the effect of music therapy on cognitive function by analyzing eight studies . In the random-effects model, SMD was 0.23 , which suggested that musical intervention could be beneficial to improve cognitive function in people living with dementia. However, the trials showed very high heterogeneity .

    Summary of efficacy of music intervention on cognitive function and secondary outcomes. Forest plot. Overall efficacy of music intervention in people with dementia on cognitive function. on quality of life. on quality of life of people after 6 months of treatment. on depressive state on depressive state after 6 months.

    You May Like: How To Tell If You Have Dementia

    How Music Therapy Sessions Are Supporting People With Dementia In Care Homesblog

    Music therapy can help to manage and reduce agitation, isolation, depression and anxiety in people with dementia. Learn more about how music therapy can support a better quality of life for people living with the condition.

    Music therapy has the power to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

    Research has shown that music therapy can significantly improve and support the mood, alertness and engagement of people with dementia. As a result, music therapy sessions can often reduce the use of medication.

    It can also help people who may find it difficult to communicate verbally, whether due to a physical or cognitive disability, emotional distress or mental illness.

    Pick The Right Music Style

    Background music is the perfect way to set an atmosphere, so use it wisely. For example, try an upbeat playlist in the morning to increase energy for the day. In the late afternoon, try a more relaxing playlist that will encourage feelings of peace and comfort to help with any anxiety, wandering, or insomnia.

    Its also important to pay attention to potential overstimulation. Playing music loudly while you are trying to have a conversation or while you are banging pots and pans when making breakfast might not be the best idea.

    You May Like: Did Robin Williams Have Alzheimer’s


    Most Popular