People living in long-term care and assisted living facilities can benefit greatly from receiving music therapy services. Numerous studies show that music therapy is an effective treatment for older adults experiencing symptoms of depression, distress, anxiety, low-seflesteem, isolation, and other conditions often associated with aging and loss of independence, family members and peers.

Some of the many benefits that are to be gained through music therapy include:

Long Term Care

  • Increase Physical fitness (Movement)
  • Opportunity for Socializing
  • Stimulate memory
  • Improve reality orientation (Organize thoughts)
  • Maintain level of participation (Motivation)

Memory Care

  • Opportunities for reminiscence
  • Reduce maladaptive behaviors
  • Maintaining daily skills
  • Reduce agitation and anxiety

Did You Know?

    • In 2009, Medicare listed music therapy in the Federal Register as part of the PPS system for inpatient rehabilitation.

Studies and Research

Coffman, D.D. & Adamek, M.S. (1999). The contributions of wind band participation to quality of life of senior adults. Music Therapy Perspectives, 17, 27-31.
Participation in organized music activities improves social interaction, well-being and a sense of accomplishment among community-dwelling senior adults.

Hamburg, J. & Clair, A.A. (2003). The effects of a movement with music program on measures of balance and gait speed in healthy older adults. Journal of Music Therapy, 40(3), 212-226.
“Movement sequences set to music composed to reflect the dynamics, rhythm, timing, and phrasing of the movements showed statistically significant increases in measures of one-foot stance balance, gait speed, and functional reach.”

Engen, R.L. (2005). The singer’s breath: Implications for treatment of persons with emphysema. Journal of Music Therapy, 42( 1), 20-48.
“Findings of this study suggest that vocal instruction, inclusive of breathing exercises, may help to improve the quality of life for senior citizens with emphysema. Increases in breathing due to music therapy interventions may play a key role in improving the health dab wellbeing of clients.”

O’Callaghan, C.C. (1993). Communicating with brain-impaired palliative care patients through music therapy. Journal of Palliative Care, 9(4), 53-55.
“Using language and music together with brain-impaired patients offers a greater chance of activating intact neurological pathways than using language alone. Music therapy also offers an alternate and creative way of communicating with these patients.”

Winninger, S.R., & Pargman, D. (2003) Assessment of factors associated with exercise enjoyment. Journal of Music Therapy, 40(1), 57-73.
“Participants who related to and enjoyed the musical aspects of the exercise program were engaged for longer periods of time than within programs where the music was not as engaging.”