Neuroscience research during the past 10 years has made great strides in documenting the relationship between music and the brain. The New York Academy of Sciences Music, Science and Medicine conference recently brought together leading researchers to share what we now know about music and its impact on Alzheimer’s disease, pain, Parkinson’s, coma and autism.
Optimally, every long-term care facility would benefit from the expertise of a music therapist. Short of that level of expertise, long-term care facilities have an inexpensive tool that can have a positive impact on resident quality of life, which, in turn, should be reflected in an important subset of MDS 3.0 scores.
Using iPods to reconnect residents with their favorite music is a simple intervention with great upside potential and no side effects. According to the New York State Department of Health, individualized music reduces dementia-related agitation by up to 80%. Feedback from hundreds of residents (and staff) is that behavior and mood improves, and residents are more cooperative, attentive and engaged.
Why this works for long-term care:
It breaks through the group activities hurdle
Just think about the top five ways we like to spend our own free time. How many of those are group activities? The answer is typically very few. We tend to think nothing of our anytime access to music. Yet we provide all manner of group activities while we look for ways to be more person-centered. Little is more personally meaningful than our own music.