Music and Dementia

 

When people get to know me one of the things that I am normally asked is about my journey from being a music major in college to owning a Home Care business.  It’s definitely not the traditional pathway that most of my fellow music majors or ComForCare owners have followed, but it has served me well.

As I look back over my journey I can see how God has been preparing me in an unconventional way to work with the senior population that I now take care of.  In college I did well enough as a music major to keep my scholarships, but I was never going to shine like some of my fellow classmates; Jamie Barton (Grammy Nominee, Winner of the 2015 Richard Tucker Award & 2013 Cardiff Singer of the World http://www.jamiebartonmezzo.com), or Cliff Duren (6+ time Dove Award Nominee), or EJ Day (Season 1 Finalist on American Idol).  My main outlet for singing now other than at church is with seniors both in their homes as well as in facilities like assisted livings and rehabs – and I love it.

Several years back ComForCare introduced a program called Joyful Memories.  Basically it is a way to use music as a reminiscence tool for seniors dealing with dementia.  Develop custom playlists based on songs from our clients childhood and youth that have been specifically arranged and recorded to target an audience with dementia.  What research has shown is that our ability to remember music is one of the last areas of memory to be affected by these terrible diseases.  In addition, music can be used to alter bad moods and behaviors in many cases better than using drugs.

Dr. Deborah Bier is on the corporate staff of ComForCare and has developed a terrific program called DementiaWise.  Our DementiaWise program involves specialized training for our caregivers in how to care for specifically for clients with Dementia, as well as newly expanded educational offerings for families and professional who care for clients with Dementia.

In the video below Dr. Bier goes into more depth about the relationship of Music and Dementia.

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