Therapy for Seniors

Issues of self-awareness and communication become increasingly important to the elderly, whose skills are declining and for whom isolation is increasing. Loss, illness, depression, and the need to restore faith and hope are readily addressed through therapy in music and art.

When provided by a trained music therapist, music has been proven effective in stimulating memory recall which contributes to reminiscence and satisfaction with life, positive changes in mood and emotional states, a sense of control over life through successful experiences, anxiety and stress reduction, and pain and discomfort management. It promotes rhythmic and continuous physical movement and vocal fluency as an adjunct to physical rehabilitation and offers opportunities to interact socially with others. Music can reach even those seniors resistant to other treatment approaches due to the familiarity, predictability and feelings of security associated with being in music.

Joseph Aresso, Ph.D., Vice Chairman, Department of Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, says, "the degree to which function can be recovered is phenomenal and we are just tapping in to the extent that we can get recovery following stroke or injury or disease. We hope that music might play a particularly important role in helping the regeneration of those cells, in helping the individual learn to interpret the pattern and essentially to help that person learn again".

In the case of individuals afflicted with Parkinson's disease, the White House Mini-Conference on Aging and Music Therapy, 1994, found that "particular elements of music have a specific effect on motor systems." It validated the effectiveness of music to improve the gait (by an average of 25% in a three week period) of individuals afflicted with Parkinson's disease through the rhythmic coupling of auditory and motor systems.

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What parents are saying

Her awareness of others and her ability to use her language has improved tremendously in the past few years. I think the music has been a real key in her development.
Heidi's mother
Daniel has grown in so many ways through the art and music sessions. He is expressing himself so much more clearly and fully. He seems to be so much more comfortable with who he is.
Cheryl, Daniel's mother
Dear Karen, you have been able to bring out Harold's smile and his joy of life. He can open up and let us know more of what he is feeling and thinking. What a gift for a parent!
From a parent
Dear Miss Karen, As you know, I auditioned for the play Honk, Jr. at my school. Guess what -- I got the lead role of Ugly! I think all of my work in music and theatre at Arts for Healing really helped me do a good job at the auditions. So thank you for helping me so much over the past 8 years. I'm really excited. Love, Brian "Music can always be there when you need it."
Zeke, 8 year old boy with Asperger's Syndrome
Her awareness of others and her ability to use her language has improved tremendously in the past few years. I think the music has been a real key in her development.
From a Mother
I've seen Manny move from being isolated and in his own world to being able to join his peers in school and even at home with his younger sister.
Jason, Manny's father

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