Music therapy involves the skillful use of music by an accredited music therapist to promote, maintain, and restore mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. In the care of the elderly this therapy can be an effective and enjoyable medium for the maintenance and improvement of cognitive, physical and socio-emotional functioning. Music Therapy can stimulate cognitive functioning through providing opportunities to learn new skills as well as through utilizing previously acquired knowledge. Both long and short term recall can be stimulated through such experiences as musical associations, singing familiar songs, and sequenced activities utilizing rhythm instruments, songs and/or movement. It offers a positive approach for reinforcing quality of life for the elderly.
Therapy sessions are individually designed to meet the specific needs of an elderly or ill client. Typical musical experiences can include singing, music listening, sharing and discussion of songs, learning to play instruments, song writing, moving to music, and participation in music activities designed to promote social interaction and self-esteem.
Music is one of life’s earliest experiences and in late adulthood musical memories remain as some of the most deep-rooted. A person’s musical history is an important component of the music therapy assessment and treatment plan. Providing music that is related to an individual’s cultural and/or religious backgrounds, or providing opportunities to rediscover musical skills gives a personalized approach and is especially valuable when working with persons with dementia. For more information and to find an accredited music therapist in your area to hire for service (consider giving a gift certificate to a frail elder) contact the Music Therapy Association of BC 604-924-0046 or visit their website. Adapted from www.mtabc.com