Editor’s Note: Here is the outline of a presentation I’m giving on using music as an activity with people who have Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. It’s geared to professional caregivers, but I think it will be helpful for family members as well. — MAB E
1. Introduction: You, Your Loved Ones or Clients, and Music
– What is your earliest memory of music?
– Did you sing as a child? Did you play an instrument?
– Do your loved ones or clients with dementia listen to music? What kinds of music?
2. What Music Does for Us
According to neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks, music can:
– Bring a sense of identity back to people who are out of it.”
VIDEO of dementia patient Henry responding to his favorite music, from the documentary Alive Inside
3. Music Is a Whole-Brain Exercise
GRAPHIC: Why Your Brain Loves That New Song
VIDEO: Gabby Giffords: Finding Voice Through Music Therapy
4. Bringing Music to People with Dementia
ARTICLE: How Can Music Help People Who Have Alzheimer’s Disease?
VIDEO: Validation Therapy founder Naomi Feil reaches out to Gladys Wilson, a woman with advanced dementia
5. Using Music for ADLs (Activities for Daily Living)
SONGS for children on such activities as brushing teeth or taking a bath can be adapted for adults.
6. Making Up Our Own Songs with Clients or Loved Ones
VIDEO: How Musical Improvisation Can Be Used with Children with Special Needs by music therapist Ryan Judd
7. Using Music for Ourselves: Stress Reduction and Relaxation
CHANT by Mary Ann Barton: “In This Moment, with This Breath”
For Elders with Dementia, Musical Awakenings: http://www.npr.org/2012/04/18/150891711/for-elders-with-dementia-music-sparks-great-awakenings?goback=%2Egde_111042_member_109297484. This is an NPR interview about the video of nursing-home resident Henry responding to music by jazz great Cab Calloway.
How Music Affects the Brain and How You Can Use It to Your Advantage: http://lifehacker.com/5865032/how-music-affects-the-brain-and-how-you-can-use-it-to-your-advantage.
How to Create a Personalized Playlist for Your Loved One at Home from Music & Memory: http://musicandmemory.org/training-publications/personalized-music-resource-guides/.
The Neuroscience of Music: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/01/the-neuroscience-of-music/.
Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008.
Pandora.com Internet Radio is a resource for listening with your loved ones or clients to discover what music they prefer: http://www.pandora.com/station/play/1537650287030860791.
Soundscaping Source – Musical Materials and Ideas for Eldercare Professionals from music therapist Rachelle Norman: http://www.soundscapingsource.com/