Yesterday, Jamie and I had the opportunity to present on the benefits of music therapy with individuals diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer's to the engagement coordinators at several local assisted living facilities. During the course of our discussion, one of the engagement directors mentioned that they were very interested in increasing the level of engagement of their residents in their unit reserved for individuals with later stage dementia. She said many of the activities and events frequently are aimed towards their higher functioning residents, and that involving their other residents was a high priority for them.
As a music therapist, I know exactly what she means, and the services we offer fill that exact need. Jamie has a great analogy she uses that illustrates this point that I think really speaks to what we do everyday. She says:
"We all use music therapeutically on our own everyday. When we're in a good mood, we have our happy music. When we get dumped, we have our sad break-up song. When we need to relax, we've got our unwinding music. When we're working out, we have our work-out playlist. The people we serve as music therapists are not able to facilitate that for themselves, and so we help them do that."
How perfect is that? For so many of the clients we work with, from premature infants to older adults with dementia, accessing music to use therapeutically is not possible. And whether that's as a result of a lost skill or a skill that they have not yet developmentally reached, not having that outlet can be hard to deal with.
Of course, as music therapists, our jobs encompass far more than just emotional goals, but I just find that to be such a great way to describe that aspect of my job. We facilitate music experiences for those who are not able to facilitate it themselves.
We never get bored of talking about music therapy. Seriously. Want to learn more? Sign up for a free consultation! We'll try not to talk your ear off.
Photo credit: Flickr user pasukaru76