This Magic Moment in Music

A New Program for People with Dementia and their Care Partners

Music has the extraordinary power to bring out the very best in people; to bring us into the present moment with joy, intent, and inspiration; to bring us together even when we feel worlds apart; and to bring wellness into the forefront through the modulation of physical and emotional health. Music is interwoven throughout the timelines of our lives, eliciting long-forgotten feelings, memories, sensations, experiences, relationships, and so much more. It calls forth our deepest, most authentic selves from the depths of despair and decline, and bridges the greatest of divides. Music is one of the final threads of connection when a cherished loved one is slipping away, a stubborn holdout amid a sea of loss and change, a lifeline and anchor to provide a sense of safety, dignity, and an authentic shared experience in an otherwise isolating and lonely place.

The person with dementia is not the only one who suffers; those who love them face tremendous loss, stress, loneliness, and new challenges as the condition progresses. Resources for support can be elusive or even impossible to find.

In addition to individual music therapy sessions offered in-home, in-clinic, at continuing care communities, and virtually, Bloomsburg Music Therapy LLC is launching a new community-based, dyad-focused virtual group program to provide support for people with dementia and their caregivers using an empirically-informed music therapy protocol.  Participant needs and preferences will inform the content of each session, which will include stimulation of memory, cognitive exercises, mood regulation, anxiety & stress reduction, focused opportunities for bonding between the individual with dementia and their care partner, music-facilitated mindful and rhythmic engagement with the body, and self-expression through movement and song.

The program will run for 12 weeks, and include the initial aims of:

  • Reduction of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, such as depression, agitation, apathy, aggression, etc.
  • Increased feelings of connection between the person with dementia and their care partner, and between dyads and the group as a whole
  • Maintenance and improvement of cognition 
  • Reduction of caregiver burnout and stress
  • Stimulation of reminiscence and positive emotion
  • Transferable skills, techniques, and exercises to be used outside of sessions 

Virtual programming is often more effective for people with mild-moderate dementia, but all are welcome given the focus on building feelings of connection between the care partner and person with dementia. 

The program can begin once a minimum enrollment threshold has been reached. The cost is $250 per dyad for the entire 12-week session and will include a small package of instruments each pair will have on loan for the duration of the program. 

For questions or to register, please contact Alysha Suley at 570-316-1899 or e-mail info@bloomsburgmusictherapy.org.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

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