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Celebrating World Music Therapy Day

Posted on March 01, 2023 in Health and Wellness

As part of Ohio Living's commitment to exceptional dementia and Alzheimer's care, our teams use music therapy and the Music and Memory approach. In addition to improving quality of life and care through personalized playlists, the therapy can activate cognition, help to decrease pain, ease transition and decrease caregiver stress.

Theresa, an Ohio Living Home Health & Hospice - Greater Youngstown social worker, shares more about the approach in action.

“For 12 years, I have been privileged to work with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. I have learned multiple techniques for communicating with these patients by validating their feelings and redirecting their thoughts. Music and Memory is different – it taps into the individual’s cognition, which has resulted in decreased negative behaviors and improved patient moods.

We currently have a patient that when she came on services, she just laid in bed with her eyes closed and would not respond to any verbal commands. She was just there. It was very easy to assume that her dementia was so advanced that she just could not talk. Through discussions with the family, it was determined that her favorite music included contemporary Christian and hymns. Her favorite songs are now played on a routine basis for her, and she will sing her heart out! Her mood is upbeat, and now she will converse at her level with those caring for her needs.

We had another patient a couple years back who was in her 50s and had dementia due to a traumatic brain injury. She would just stare at a fixated point in the room. I had a conversation with her family, and a playlist was developed which included her love for soft rock and her favorite artists. While playing the music – it was like she woke up. I remember one day being with her and she started to smile. At one point she looked at me and said, ‘Thank you.’ This coming from a woman who had not spoken a word in months.

Music is such an important part of our lives and can affect us in many ways. With Music and Memory, we can assist our patients with dementia in being able to express themselves and improve their quality of life.”