Music Therapy with Dementia

For many individuals who have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s, music therapy may be an invaluable form of treatment to address physical, psychological, cognitive or social functioning. Research results and clinical experiences attest to the viability of Neurologic Music Therapy even in those who may not respond well to other treatment approaches.

THE POWER OF MUSIC

Renowned neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks, at the Hearing before the Senate Special Committee on Aging entitled, “Forever Young: Music and Aging,” stated,

“The power of music is very remarkable… One sees Parkinsonian patients unable to walk, but able to dance perfectly well or patients almost unable to talk, who are able to sing perfectly well…I think that music therapy and music therapists are crucial and indispensable in institutions for elderly people and among neurologically disabled patients.”

WHAT TO EXPECT

Music is a form of sensory stimulation, which provokes responses due to the familiarity, predictability, and feelings of security associated with it.

When individual sessions are designed by a music therapist to fit functional abilities and needs, responses can be immediate. Even participants without a music background benefit from music therapy. 

HOW MUSIC THERAPY HELPS

COGNITIVE

• Increased memory recall which contributes to reminiscence and satisfaction with life
• Greater awareness of self and environment which accompanies increased attention to music

COMMUNICATION

• Increased social interaction with caregivers and families
• Ability to communicate, participate and express self non-verbally

COGNITIVE

• Increased memory recall which contributes to reminiscence and satisfaction with life
• Greater awareness of self and environment which accompanies increased attention to music

COMMUNICATION

• Increased social interaction with caregivers and families
• Ability to communicate, participate and express self non-verbally

MOTOR COORDINATION

• Structure of music promotes rhythmic and continuous movement or vocal fluency

SENSORY

• Non-pharmacological management of pain and discomfort

EMOTIONAL REGULATION

• Reduction in anxiety and stress
• Increased sense of control through successful experiences
• Increased emotional connection during shared music experiences

OUR APPROACH

Portland Music Therapy maintains a very specific intention – to discover the gifts beyond a diagnosis.

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