Music Therapy for Treatment of Alzheimer's and Other Dementias

The Institute for Music and Neurologic Function (IMNF) specializes in treating patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Working with individuals through CenterLight Health System, IMNF music therapists help patients maximize their memory capability through the strategic use of music.

The licensed music therapists and music therapy assistants use certain songs to stimulate past memories, images and personal experiences. Music therapists can help dementia patients memorize new information such as names and phone numbers, as well as improving attention and reducing agitation. Music has the capacity to stimulate seemingly lost memories in individuals with memory deficits due to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The IMNF helps residents respond to familiar songs, even when recognition of language and visual objects is no longer possible. This suggests that the way the brain remembers music is different from the way it remembers people, personal experiences, and other memories. Therefore, patients may be able to use music to access memories that were thought to be forgotten.

What to Expect

Familiar songs are used to stimulate memory.

Musical improvisation enhances self-expression when meaningful words are not possible.

Rhythm based activities increase attention and focus.

Phrases are put to music to aid memory recall.

Music Therapy can provide results including:

Improved memory

Increased attention and focus

Increased motivation

Improved cognitive skills

Increased self-expression

Increased awareness of self and others

Reduced agitation

For additional information on the programs and services offered by the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function, call 718-519-5840 or email imnf@centerlight.org.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s Disease is a brain disorder that is progressive. It destroys brain cells, causing memory loss and difficulties with thinking and behavior that affect work, hobbies and every aspect of an individual’s life. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, but some medications have been found to slow the progression temporarily. Music therapy has been found to help individuals with Alzheimer’s improve their quality of life.


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