MacPhail and Ecumen Team Up For Dementia Music Therapy Program

 The Minnesota State Arts board recently awarded MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis a grant of $96,690 to support music therapy for seniors with Alzheimer’s and related dementias, and Ecumen Centennial House in Apple Valley is one of the sites selected for the program.

MacPhail with be working with Ecumen and two other senior living companies, along with the Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota-North Dakota, to provide music programs specifically designed for seniors with dementia-related memory loss.  Work will begin in July to develop the therapy program at Ecumen Seasons at Apple Valley.

Studies have shown that music can reduce agitation and lessen behavioral issues common among those with dementia. Music helps people connect, even after verbal communication has become difficult.

According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America: “When used appropriately, music can shift mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function, and coordinate motor movements.  This happens because rhythmic and other well-rehearsed responses require little to no cognitive or mental processing… A person’s ability to engage in music, particularly rhythm playing and singing, remains intact late into the disease process because, again, these activities do not mandate cognitive functioning for success.”

To read more about how music can help dementia, go to this Alzheimer’ explanation of how the therapy works.