The Power of Music and Memory Therapy for Those With Dementia

It is often the case that those with dementia suffer from isolation and have trouble with both short and long term memory.

Fortunately, here at Dementia Caring, we pride ourselves on providing innovative forms of therapy to help those with the condition. One way we do this is through music therapy.

The forefront of music therapy

Music can naturally bring happiness to everyone.  With this in mind, specialised music therapy is used to aid those with dementia. By allowing those affected to listen to and engage with music from their past, it encourages old memories to return, as well as providing a fun way to counter isolation by sharing music with friends and loved ones.

Another reason music and memory therapy is so popular is due to its simple application, as well as being purely non-medical in nature.

“It’s becoming increasingly important for people with dementia to have non-medicated therapies available to them,” says Dementia Caring’s CEO Jon Kontopos.

“The feedback we’ve had from geriatricians is that more than 70 percent of people with dementia and their families want non-medicated therapies.”

Dementia caring prides itself in being at the forefront of music therapy, and currently offers 12-week music therapy programs, which have proven to be very successful.

“People have responded very well. It’s lovely to see the change in them after a 12-week program. Anxiety levels drop and well-being improves,” says Kontopos.

Music therapy became especially popular when it was highlighted by social worker Dan Cohen back in 2014. His US documentary, Alive Inside, showed the many benefits of music therapy for those with dementia.

Dr Kirsty Beilharz is also an advocate of music therapy. She has even written a book about music therapy titled Music Remembers Me, which is due to be released soon.

Other types of therapy

And while music therapy is perhaps the most popular, we also offer various other types to suit your needs.

Reminiscence therapy uses music alongside photos and other familiar items to try and bring back old memories from previous events. Another popular technique is a personalised storybook of an individual’s life that again, attempts to tap into old memories and evoke an emotional response.

We also offer sensory therapy that focuses on using the senses, as well as validation therapy, which focuses on validating the memory of someone with dementia, which can help improve mood and reduce anxiety.

“The exciting news,” Kontopos says, “is that, as a result of the deregulation that occurred in February, people with dementia often have access to government-subsidised packages that can include in-home care, respite and these advanced therapies.”

You can find the original article in the 14/05/2017 issue of the Sun Herald.

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