Music Therapy for Older Adults

Music therapy is concerned with maximising quality of life in older adults. Particular attention is given to the development, restoration and/or maintenance of skills to support the person in attaining their highest possible level of functioning. Music therapy is concerned with helping the person to maintain or establish a sense of control within his/her environment. 

Music therapy can:

  •        stimulate social interaction
  •        reduce agitation and wandering
  •        increase participation
  •        provide stimulation
  •        support memory skills
  •        support reality orientation and reminiscence
  •        improve mood and emotional wellbeing
  •        reduce feelings of isolation
  •        reduce feelings of pain
  •        promote and maintain communication skills
  •        promote and maintain physical skills

Music therapy can also help caregivers

  •        reduce their own stress and anxiety
  •        re-establish/maintain positive relationships with their family member

Music therapy has been found to be effective for older adults who have suffered from a stroke, mental illness, and/or dementia. Research has found music therapy is one of the few activities which people in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, can participate in.


What does a music therapist do?

Similar to other Allied Health Professionals, music therapists follow a procedure of referral, assessment, goal setting, intervention and evaluation. This makes them different to musicians who provide music for entertainment.

Music therapists see clients both individually and/or within groups.

Music therapy sessions can consist of a range of activities, including:

  •        listening to music,
  •        moving/dancing to music
  •        singing familiar songs
  •        song writing,
  •        instrument playing
  •        improvising.
  •        reminiscing/life reviewing

Previous musical experience?

No prior musical experience is needed in order to benefit from music therapy.


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