Aspire for More with Erin

Harmony in Dementia the Power of Music Therapy

March 21, 2024 Erin Thompson
Aspire for More with Erin
Harmony in Dementia the Power of Music Therapy
Show Notes Transcript

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Erin:

Hi, welcome back to another episode of the aspire for more with Aaron podcast, where I have with me, Tara Jenkins, the founder and board suit of certified music therapist from harmony and dementia. Hi, Tara. How are you?

Tara:

I'm great. It's great to be here. Thank you so much. Yes. I,

Erin:

will remember your name because of course I have a sister named Tara, which I've already told you. I just have to make sure that I call you Tara and not my sister Tara, and that we stay in good spirits this entire time. But I am excited to have you as a guest because I love music. I have seen the impact that music has on our residents inside of our communities. I would say specifically our memory cares. But I think assisted living is just as powerful. So I'm excited to learn more about what music therapy is and how it can help inside our communities more consistently.

Tara:

Yeah, definitely. So a little bit about me, I have been working in dementia care since 2007, and I've been in a variety of roles. So I've been an activities director. I've worked full time in long term care as a music therapist. I've worked in private practice, and my services vary. So I do group and individual services for people living with dementia, virtual and in person. I also provide education and support to caregivers, professionals, and students as well. So as a music therapist. We use different aspects of music to achieve individualized goals, both in and outside of sessions. And for me, one of the things I love about music therapy is how personalized we can design a session depending on who's sitting in front of us. And we do that by assessing the strengths and the needs of each client, and then we provide a treatment plan. We develop a treatment plan from that. And a lot of times that can include, creating music, singing, moving, listening. we do lots of different activities, along with that. It just depends on the client preferences and what their needs are in that moment.

Erin:

I don't know if I realized as an executive director, how. Beneficial music therapy is I knew entertainment was beneficial, but music as therapy fascinates me. So tell me what you see when communities actually do realize that. Like, when you were inside those communities, why would they want this for their residents and What are the outcomes that you see? I'm really intrigued by this because I didn't know of an option So educate me.

Tara:

Yeah, definitely. So as music therapists, I'll just go a little bit into our background and then definitely answer the question you've asked. We have a background of. course in music. So music theory, music history, all of those things. But we also have a background in psychology. We also, have a background in anatomy and physiology. We take those courses as well. We have four years of coursework. Uh, and in those four years we do, practicums like rotations where we work with different folks, different ages, different population groups. And then we have a six month internship. And then after that, We sit for the national board exam to become board certified. And so there's a lot of education, that and research that's behind what we do. And so I think what people notice the most, what I hear a lot from people who will observe me, I always say, if you can see music therapy in action, that's the best way to see it. I'll give you some examples and describe some stories today, but That's the best way to see what the differences are. volunteers coming to provide music, entertainers all provide a valuable service. So I'm not saying, you need one or the other. if you can have both, that's amazing, depending on people's programs and budgets and all of that. But what a lot of people will say right off the bat is, Mrs. Jones never talks, but I heard her sing. Or I didn't know that Gary. Used to play guitar, cause that'll come out in our session. we'll, I'll be unpacking my guitar and someone will be like, Oh, I had a guitar, in high school. And so I might ask, what kind of guitar was it? And then that brings a whole meaningful conversation. or someone might say, the rapport that you build, there's, everyone is so comfortable with you. you treat everybody with dignity. these are all things that, in addition to my music therapy training, I have a lot of core dementia training, So I know how to approach folks living with dementia. what are the best ways to approach someone to give them the choice? Music therapy I think is a wonderful activity because A lot of times our, folks living with dementia, so many choices are taken away from them. There's so many things that are decided for them. So when I bring in instruments, it's a choice. Do you want a drum or do you want a maraca? And no is also a choice. so I don't force it because it's supposed to be an enjoyable, experience. It's not something that they, quote, unquote, have to do. So how can we, also celebrate their strengths? a lot of times I'm focused on their abilities and what they're still able to do. And sometimes in a medical model and medical setting, we're focused on the diagnosis and the limitations. And Things they can no longer do. So music therapy is really great because you can celebrate all of the things that they are still able to do, whether that's tapping their finger, singing along or sharing a story from when they grew up, there's so much that goes on in a music therapy session because it's multisensory. So we're doing singing activities, listening activities. We might do a songwriting activity. I bring in lots of different instruments. So for tactile experiences, as well as different auditory sounds. So there's so much, going on and it really just depends on the group in front of me. So I always come with a bag of, I call it my Mary Poppins bag, a bag of stuff, a bag of instruments and whatnot. And then. I come with a plan in mind. A lot of times it's thematic, that I found works really well, even if you're theming it around a decade or, a holiday or even just a season, it does. It could be a broad or specific theme, but it keeps the theme. Our focus throughout, especially in memory care, you keep going back to that theme and that thematic programming and there's a structure to the way, I, lead a session. So we have an intro song to get everybody warmed up, we're going to do movement towards the beginning. we're going to do singing. We're going to do listening activities songwriting and we're going to have a closing song. I'm preparing. Those individuals, it's time to start, it's time to end, giving all of those cues, and the in the moment support that they might need.

Erin:

I think the key word there is intentionality.

Tara:

Yes.

Erin:

That, like that word used and applied in every facet of life, but specifically right inside of senior living is where like success is hidden. It's in that intentionality. You made a post in on LinkedIn that I saw, which was really impressive to me. yeah, here's this woman. Singing and playing the guitar, which is already impressive to me because, I can't do that. And then you literally listed everything that you were looking for from the audience while you're singing and playing the guitar. in my head. I have to remember the words I have to remember where this these fingers go. I have to remember where these fingers go and now I'm looking into the audience and assessing them so to speak loosely and to figuring out what is working and what isn't. That is fascinating to me. Take me through your mind when you're doing that.

Tara:

Yeah. So it's different in a group than an individual setting. So with an individual, so music therapy, I love it because you can tailor it to preferences. And I always say music preferences is key when working with folks living with dementia. So when it's individual. there's a lot that I'm getting to know that client. I'm getting to know that person. So there's a lot that goes into that assessment. That's going to look a little different, a little bit more in depth. When I'm in a group setting, sometimes I'm there once a month, sometimes I'm there weekly, it really varies on the schedule. So sometimes I have, what I call my regulars, the folks who are always there. So I do get to know them from And then sometimes I have people I've never met before. So there is a lot of in the moment assessment going on with that. And so when I'm standing in front of a group, I assess from the moment I walk into the building. So from the moment I walk into the building, it starts long before I start the music. if I walk into a memory care, And I'm walking in through the living room and that's where they want me to play. is the furniture set up, I'll move furniture. I used to be in activities. I'm used to it. It's not a big deal. I'll put it back.

Erin:

I

Tara:

always promise I'll leave the room as I found it. if furniture needs to be moved, I like doing a kind of an arc, a half circle, because then the participants can see each other. They can see me. I can walk around and hand out instruments. Rose, I don't love, but I'm flexible, right? if that's how folks are set up when I get there, but when I'm working with a community, it's all about setting yourself up for success. And I talk about this a lot with caregiver trainings, with using music and also music therapists who are starting in dementia care. If you can set you and your clients up for success, then you have the best chance of getting the desired responses. And so that also goes to knowing personalities. So if I know that Doris. And Karen do not get along. I'm going to redirect and encourage that. Maybe they don't sit next to each other, and I'm going to do that in a very friendly way where maybe people don't even realize what I'm doing. But if I've observed that, I'm going to put that into it. If it's a group I'm meeting for the 1st time, I usually go around and say hello to everyone as I'm unpacking. And right then. I'm assessing their verbal skills. I'm assessing their attention to task. I'm assessing, their eye contact. all of that is happening in just me saying hello. So then I know this individual might need more cueing or more prompting, or this individual is good. they're going to be my, chatty Kathy, so to speak. They're going to be the one who's talkative, who's engaged, who's, ready for music. you always have those different levels within a group. And then while the group's going on, then I'm assessing, the social interactions, the peer interactions, how they're interacting with me, is the music too loud, do I need to be quiet? Or is there a vacuum? that happens too with your environment. Somebody comes in and is vacuuming or cleaning, sometimes it can't be avoided. And we manage it, but I will ask someone if I'm setting up and I see that I try to be proactive and say, hey, we're about to do music therapy. a lot of times outside auditory stimuli can be very overwhelming and confusing. In addition to me singing and playing. can you come back later? Or maybe this, maybe we need to move to a different space. if there's a TV or a radio on, that's the first thing that I asked to be, turned down or turned off. And now a lot of times in communities, there's the speakers in the ceiling to play music. So usually I'm finding where's the control for that. Because if I sing over that is a lot of over yeah. Oversensory stimulation and it's too confusing. there's so much going on. And then the in the moment assessment comes down to, how are they enjoying what I'm doing? if I'm doing a drumming activity and this just doesn't seem like their thing, I'm not going to stay with that. I'm going to change it. I'm going to give it time. But if I see something's not working, I'm going to go with it. If I get song requests, but Let's say we were going to talk about, disco for the day. But, I've got two or three people who love disco, but then someone's asking me about a song from the 1940s, I'm still going to share it. if they make the connection and all of a sudden they want to hear sentimental journey, I'm going to work it into my session. maybe I'll say, Oh, this is a great song for us to end with. Let's end with this one today. so I always try to do that. I want to make sure I'm hitting music. I, I cannot say that enough that music preferences is so important in dementia care. And in my work, even if I'm staying with a decade or a style or genre of music, like if I was doing American folk music, I'm going to do stuff that was from early on. I'm going to do stuff from the folk revival in the fifties and sixties, because I never know in a group setting. Who's going to be in front of me? So that includes how old they are. That includes their background, where they're from. If they're local to the area, here in Austin, Texas. There's a lot of country artists that some people might not be as familiar with outside of Austin, and that goes for anywhere. there's a certain type of music if you grew up in Chicago, there's a certain style of jazz that you're going to enjoy that might be different from what you might hear in New Orleans. And the more I engage with folks, the more I learn about them, the better I can provide music for them.

Erin:

All right. There's just a few things here. I haven't heard the title sentimental journey in a long time. And that I'm having a little music therapy right now. That just took me back. let me call you sweetheart. Yes. Okay. But sentimental journey. Yeah, I just forgot that song even existed. You just brought that back to me and I am going on my own sentimental journey. Okay. But I also want to say you were like, you can tell you were in activities. Because everything that you just said, I'm like, yep, all that's required. And it's a great example. people, and I was guilty when you are so extremely stressed out and you've got the weight of the world on your shoulders, you don't take the time to realize how much work being an activity person is. and then you certainly don't realize. The value of music therapy, but what I now know is that when you actually take the time to just breathe and really look at the details, because the details are what matter what you just said, all the things that you just said, if you don't do all of that, the activity is not a success and the therapy sessions on the 6th. And so you come in ready to control the details. So then the outcome can be successful. Yeah, that is huge. if we could all think like that, our jobs would be easier on the front end. It's a little bit harder, right? Especially if the person who's vacuuming looks at you like, you're crazy. I gotta get this job done. Of course, because

Tara:

that's their job, right? Yes. Yeah, that's their task on their to do list. And again, there's an ebb and flow there, I'm not gonna cut, especially if I don't work there full time. Because who am I? Who's this lady with the guitar asking me to stop doing my job? They and they're warranted. That opinion is warranted. I come in there with that awareness. And I think that also comes from my specific background working in long term care. I know how hard each department works and in activities you're working with every department. and all the departments work together, but I think activities is really unique because you're with the residents all day, but you're also interacting with all the employees to get what you need to get done. You're interacting with the families on a different level than some other folks might be. And so I bring all of that into what I do as a music therapist as well, because I think it's very important. And if I can involve. The person vacuuming if I can say if I see that or someone walking by a lot of times it'll be the director of nursing or it might be the executive director and obviously they're on to their next thing their next meeting their next family meeting, maybe there's a crisis that's happening But they're bopping along as they pass by because they know the song I give a shout out I encourage them to dance with us, they're more than like the more the merrier I invite family I invite friends Anyone can be a part of this because you're taking a moment. It's a moment for you. you're in the middle of two meetings, you're stressed out. You're like you said, there's so much going on in any role, that somebody has in long term care. So can they take a moment for them and a moment to see their residents doing something that maybe they're not used to seeing? Because that's the other thing I talk about a lot too, with caregiving, especially like. everyone has a different name, for the folks who provide care for people in long term care, but they are the people who have some of the hardest jobs and they're doing work that the residents don't love, they're giving them a bath or giving them medicine. They're taking them to a doctor's appointment. And so can they engage with them during music therapy? And help build that rapport. So now they have a positive association. The resident has a positive association to that staff member and they have a positive association to the resident. They see the resident in a different light and vice versa. And then maybe they see. That, John loves Hank Williams, let's say. John loves Hank Williams. Oh, maybe if I played Hey Good Looking for John, when I'm, going into his room to give him his medicine, maybe that'll make things a little easier. Maybe we'll just start with a song, and then I'll go into giving the medicine. so there's a lot there, and I think, There's a lot that can be learned from everyone, whether you have a full time music therapist or someone who comes in once or twice a month. I'm always about advocating and educating for the staff, for the caregivers, and for the residents living with dementia as well.

Erin:

Yeah. I have a son with some unique capabilities behavior opportunities, but you and I talked about previously how behaviors really are forms of communication and. Just when you talked about how you were assessing and you see that and they didn't get along or this and that. like, when you see certain behaviors while you're performing for them, then, what that means. you understand what that is. And that's fascinating to me that a music therapist can do that. But that's based on your experience.

Tara:

Of course, based on my experience, my education, I've been with folks living with dementia since 2007. There are still things I'm seeing for the first time. There's a lot of things that I've seen some variation of it. And, I always say it's important that we join their journey a lot of times and we don't even mean it, but we can be the problem. And it's not on purpose. We're doing our best. We're doing what we think is right. But that individual is not able to process that. Things the same way as us or at the same speed as us. And so can we take a step back and can we join them instead of trying to fit them into our journey, reverse it. And I think once you have that thinking, some of these things, then start to, to get a little easier or you view things differently. And so you can look at, Someone who maybe is on the go, people who are pacing or wandering, folks who are on the go. There's usually a reason behind that. We just might not know what it is. It could be food. It could be a drink. It could be their clothing's uncomfortable. It could be the chair they're sitting in, a lot of times I'll have, individuals who will try to get up during a session. And they're not safe to do so on their own. And if their staff there, their immediate thing is to tell them to sit down because that's safe and what you want. But with what I do, sometimes they're getting up cause they want to dance. sometimes they're getting up cause that's how they want to be involved. So if I can have a staff member there and they can safely stand next to them, why not dance with them? Before we redirect them to sit back down. If someone is wandering and they're adamant, they don't want to join me for music, I'll invite them, but I don't force it because then you're creating more tension. You're creating more agitation where if I invite them and they pass by. And then I see, oh, they passed by the second time and they are really into James Brown. So let's see the next time I play James Brown or something similar, can I invite them in? and I always am no pressure. stay for a song. If you don't like it, you can leave. Same with instruments, try it out. If you don't like it, you don't have to play it. and I think approaching it from that point of view, it gives the resident again, going back to choice, it gives them some autonomy. It lets them decide what they want to do. And it lets them express themselves, going back to dancing, maybe they wanted to dance for a minute or two, and they physically can't do that all the time, the music is inspiring them to do so we should help them be able to achieve that if we can.

Erin:

Yeah. I'm just sitting here thinking, you're inviting people to join you while you're singing James Brown, and you're making a mental note that they like James Brown as you're singing, playing the guitar, assessing the room. Again, we cannot discredit. The power of music and activities and what it requires. I'm just like, it's not as we think that nursing is hard and it is, and we think that eating is hard and it is, but activities and therapy and music therapy like this is hard to, it takes intentionality and preparation. It looks like it's fun. And it looks like it's easy, but I don't know about anybody else who's listening, but can you sing, play the guitar, assess, invite people and make a mental note? They like James Brown at the same time. I don't know. I know I can. Yeah. Yeah. Have you been able to get somebody to do something they didn't want to do and that they were potentially fighting and then you just to them.

Tara:

Yeah. Yeah. So there's a lot of different examples of that. I wouldn't just start like singing in their face if I didn't know anything about them, but again, it comes back to that intentionality. But yeah, I've used when the saints go marching in to help someone get up and walk, there's a lot of research with music therapy and gate, there's a lot of research out there about. if you've got someone who, has Parkinson's and they've got that shuffled gate, you can work with a music therapist and a lot of times co treating with a physical therapist or occupational therapist. And, there's different, techniques and strategies on how to even that gate. To have them follow a rhythm or a tempo, or sometimes just a metronome, just a steady beat. so sometimes, yeah, sometimes I'll, I had one individual I worked with, one on one. And she's mostly non verbal, loved Elvis, loved to dance, and she was one of my on the go people. So she was always on the move, was very challenging for her to rest. Rest was important, but hard for her to do because she was always moving. And then obviously drinking and eating were not always happening. So our sessions would start in her room and when she was ready to move, we'd sit, we'd play some instruments and then we'd walk the community and I'd have my phone in my pocket and we'd play recorded music or I'd sing with her and I'd hold her hand, we'd stop by the hydration, station, with water and whatnot. I of course talked to everyone before, I knew her dietary needs, but, and what she was able to do and able to have. And so our music therapy session looked very different than what you might traditionally think of someone sitting down and sharing music

Erin:

If you're working with

Tara:

someone in a group setting or individual setting. You can follow their journey. So if I've had rapport built with someone for several years, at the end of life, music is one of the last things we can respond to. So I have years of her music preferences. I know the song she responds to. I know the songs that were her favorite. And so I can bring that and then adapt them in a way that makes it appropriate for where she's at in her journey. And so that, I think, is some of the best moments of my job is when music can help support somebody in a way where people didn't think anything would work. I had one client who, he was institutionalized all of his life. he was blind, partially deaf and had intellectual disabilities and was in bed most of the day. And so his case manager was really struggling to find something That he could enjoy. And so we were like, let's give music therapy a try. Maybe it'll work. I don't know. And he was in long term care and, music's multisensory. So for him, it was tactile goals and objectives. So he could strum my guitar. I have an auto harp, which is a folk instrument. He was able to strum that he could feel the vibrations. We did drumming, with cabasas, an ocean drum, anything that would really give him that sensory input. And you could see, what that did for him, just his quality of life, physically, how he reacted to things, the vocalizations and sounds that he made expressing his joy. And that was huge for that individual. who had spent so many years not really benefiting from any of the quote unquote traditional methods of care or traditional activities because he wasn't an individual that could participate in that way.

Erin:

Yeah. That's great. It just takes a little intention really. and uniqueness and just on my own personal experience. I have found those little things do matter. And those little things add up to really big things and you have to be aware of that and you have to be patient and you have to Allow the little things, which is important. so I know you were giving us some examples. I'm really interested in, are there examples where, you know, those extreme examples where. Music did help like extremely, like we were extreme and now all of a sudden we're not so extreme anymore. Do you have some of those examples?

Tara:

So I've got one example, that I think we'll touch on that. And then another one that I think just goes back to music preferences that I'll share too. Cause I can't, but this first one. as an individual, she was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. So she was younger, than almost everybody in the entire community. And she wasn't really a fan of socializing in group settings. she also just. didn't really, she expressed that she felt like she didn't fit in the community. And they were doing everything and supporting and doing all the things. So again, it was, let's try music. She loved music. Her background, she listens to, used to listen to music all the time, went to concerts, danced, played piano when she was younger. Let's try music therapy. And so for her, what was interesting, what developed in our sessions is even though she enjoyed music, she had very clear boundaries on when she was done with music for the day, and, on a lot of times with folks diagnosed with FTD, they can be very blunt, they can be very much no, thank you. And that's, all of us to some extent, but with dementia and different forms of dementia, sometimes that filter's no longer there. So sometimes I was there for 15 minutes. Sometimes it was, we were sharing a song or two and then she was like, I'm done. and so it did take me a little time to realize our sessions are going to look very different. And that's still a success because we still shared something meaningful for those 15 minutes. Instead of looking at it as. Oh, I didn't get to sit with her the whole hour or I wasn't with her the whole 45 minutes. And sometimes I'd stay longer, but music was 15 minutes of music. And then maybe we were walking the community or maybe we were just conversing, talking about, she got to see the Beatles, when they were here. And so that was a huge story. She loved to tell. it's an extreme, we're on paper, music should work great, music did work, but it had to be adapted and it had to work again on her timetable, her journey, her interests. And so that's what I think is the beauty of music therapy is we can adapt in the moment. There's so many things that we're constantly changing in the moment. and going back to music preferences, another individual who was younger than, A lot of the folks in the community he was at in the long term care he was at and he was finding it difficult to engage meaningfully in activities. They were just doing things that was of no interest to him and his family saw it and he was a music lover. He loved Prince. He loved Hall and Oates, The Beatles, Disco. his music preferences were very eclectic and were going to be songs that you weren't going to hear. when an entertainer would come in or when the radio would be, the, or the CD player, whatever it was, whatever the music was for that community, he wasn't going to hear his music. So they were extremely supportive. They advocated for him to get services. And when we engaged in music, he truly came alive, big smile, laughing, playing music, telling stories, and he was For him, music was an old friend that he became reacquainted with. And it was also a way when his family came to visit, he had, children. One child who lived close by and one who would travel to see him every so often. It was a way that they could engage with him. So some of our sessions, they would join us. And so I would know, okay, his children are coming. So you know, here's in my head what I'm going to plan out that I think will be successful for everyone. What's going to be meaningful for everyone. And through that, I learned all different sorts of information about his background Some things he was able to share. And then a lot that his children could tell me about that he no longer could recall, and I was able to support him, through the height of COVID. he unfortunately passed during COVID, we were able to do a couple virtual telehealth sessions and he recognized my voice, even when he was no longer responsive. You could see the shift in the change. And, we did an outdoor memorial and I played and sang some of his favorite songs at his memorial. So that's another way of, things you might not think, when you think of what a music therapist can do to help support family and to help support that individual through their journey. it's just another example of how we can provide that support.

Erin:

Yeah. That's so amazing. It really is. and what an impact you make that a family member asked you to come and perform at, a memorial service. it doesn't get any better than that. It truly does not get any better than that.

Tara:

It was, as those moments are, it was heavy and special and. everything it was all the emotions, all the feelings. but, yeah, I felt very honored to be a part of his celebration and especially at a time. That was even more challenging, because of the height of the pandemic, which, just made things so much more intense for so many people.

Erin:

Yeah, that's cool. I think that the main. understanding of really, for me, like what music therapy is like music is a connector. It just is. Yeah. Not only does it connect people, it connects your brain again. Because as you said before, she can't speak. But she can sing. And so for a few minutes, the families have their mother's voice again, right? Or their father's voice again. And, and you give the residents success. We don't know what it's like to not be able to say what we want and yet still be able to sing. And so in those moments when we give our residents the ability to sing, if they can't speak, there's gotta be a feeling of success in that moment.

Tara:

Yeah. And you can see it a lot of times in their body language or, someone who all of a sudden they hear a song and they're like, I didn't know I knew the words to that, and there's science and research, there's a lot of reasons why that's the case. music is centered throughout our brain. So when you think of someone living with dementia, specifically Alzheimer's dementia. the plaques and tangles that are blocking neural

Erin:

connection. It's just providing more opportunity.

Tara:

Yeah,

Erin:

so great. Okay, most important question. As we are moving away from our sentimental journey generation and our let me call you sweetheart generation, what were your requests? What are your requests now? And then what do you see being sprinkled in? I'm dying to know.

Tara:

Yeah. yeah, the one you said, let me call you sweetheart. Very rarely do I ever sing that anymore. When I started. That was a big one. Yeah, and the thing is I'll sing it if it's requested, and it depends on who's in front of me. I'm not, I, there's never a song that I'm like, I'm never going to sing this one again because if it's meaningful for an individual and it's something that they connect with because their mother sang it to them or their grandparents listened to it or, it brings them to a certain place in time, But that's a song that I know it. It's I have an iPad now of all my sheet music, so it's in there. but it's not one that I get requested or one that, folks want to hear so much anymore. when I think of songs that are current, it's 50s and 60s, and it's been that for a little while for me. Elvis, Ray Charles, the Everly Brothers, Patsy Kline. So songs like Rock Around the Clock, Folsom Prison Blues. 16 tons. and those are going to be songs for people who maybe are, 80 in their 80s. if we think back to what the research says about music from, our late teens, early 20s. And again, I don't stick with just that, but that's the starting point. But now if you think of somebody who's 75 today, now we're thinking mid 60s and I sing a lot of this too. So you've got the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel and the Supremes and Loretta Lynn. you've got songs like Hey Jude and Hello Dolly, Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, So you've got lots of stuff like that. And then when you think of folks who are in their 60s, I've also had folks who are in their 50s. So now we're thinking mid seventies music, eighties music. So that music may not be as prevalent in a community setting as a whole yet, but it is there. And I share it with my groups. I share it with my individuals. we're sharing Elton John and the Eagles and the BGs. John Denver has been big through this whole time. I think he's won. Take me home. Country roads. Staple that I don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon. And it's one I learned in college but yeah, we've got songs like I Will Survive, thinking of going back to disco and things like that. so I, I always get excited by that. I'm always fascinated by someone's preferences and I think. when I'm in my sixties and seventies, I'm super curious because I've got my own preferences, but then I also know all this other music. So I'm curious what that's going to look like for me. but I'm always fascinated for me. I feel like a detective and that's some of the fun that I enjoy of my job. I love. Investigating and really pinpointing someone's preferences really down to the singer, to the performer, the artist, however you refer to it, to the song, to the style of music, and that's going to be different for everyone, and as I said, that sentimental journey example I gave, I was doing rock and roll songs. And, another song from the sentimental journey area era, don't sit under the apple tree. This was just a couple months ago and it reminded her of her father and she wanted to, she said, Hey, do you know this one? I was like, Oh yeah, we'll work it in. So I still use those songs. And I had an individual who, if you looked at on paper age wise, sentimental journey might not have been the song for him, but it was a song. His mother sang. In the home while she was cleaning while she was cooking and it was one we end it with every session every week Because it was so important to him So that's why I say I never discount a song but I do you know I do want to encourage folks don't just stick with big band Don't just stick with Frank Sinatra because we are getting folks who were not Around, they were not born yet when those songs were made popular. And the other thing is too, is folks living with dementia can still learn new things. They can learn new skills, and I see that a lot in my music. I'll bring an unfamiliar song and we'll learn it together. So we might sing, there's a folk song called the water is wide. James Taylor does a version of it. The Indigo girls do a version of it. It's a song that either people know it or they've never heard it is how I, what I found, but it's one that I can teach folks. We've got the lyric sheets. We go through it a few times. We sing it on a syllable. So we're just focusing on the melody. We'll add the words back into it. And, by the end, we've sung a song, it's a new song in their repertoire and, you're exposing them to something different, something new and that can be a good thing too.

Erin:

Yeah, just even talking about song preferences make us smile and brings us happy and brings us joy, in summary. Music is powerful. It always has been powerful. it makes a movie, right? And so music is required inside of our communities and you have really shown light on just how intentional and detailed music therapists can be. We had more caregivers, executive directors and director of nursing as intentional about that. That about care and. customer satisfaction and all that, as you are in your therapy, things would be much different right inside senior living the way that it is now. So it's very impressive the way that you talk about that. And. And how you support your patients, your customers through that. it's very eye opening of, but really, I would assume writing a song is just that technical, you have to make sure it rhymes and you have to hit the notes and, these are things that I don't know. it's fascinating to me and that music is a connector. It connects people and it connects our brains and our bodies and our words again, which is. Fascinating because it's entertainment, but there's also the science and the art to it. Yeah, which is fantastic. Anything you want to leave us off with? Have we any kind of crazy random requests that you've had that maybe you. Oh, I have to learn that.

Tara:

And yeah, I will. Prince's purple rain. I did a very acoustic version. I'm not shredding on the electric guitar, but we did an acoustic version to that. that was one that I was like, let me see. And sometimes, all I'm transparent. if it's one that an individual wants to hear in the moment and I don't know it, I'm going to find the recording and we're going to listen to it because I don't know if that moment will come again. You never know when you're going to make a connection. So if there's. specifically requesting a song. I want to get it to them in the moment if I can, but then sometimes it's, I like this performer, this artist, and so then I'll look it up and I'll see, okay, this song I can learn. And, maybe this one we'll listen to the recording of it. And there is something really beneficial. Sometimes, I give Elvis and Frank Sinatra as examples, but there are present day examples as well. They have such a specific voice. You hear Elvis, you know exactly who that is. And so sometimes Hearing the recording can connect you in a different way than if I'm singing. don't be cruel, so I would just say, yeah, I think for me, like just try music, see if it works, guess and check, when it comes to music preferences, but don't be afraid of it. I think sometimes too, caregivers put this pressure on themselves. Oh, I don't sing. I don't like the way my voice sounds, now we have so many devices and technology. Has made things a little bit easier. if you don't feel comfortable singing, can you play the recordings? can you find a music therapist? Can you find someone who can help, provide that additional support? So I would just encourage everyone to give it a try.

Erin:

Yes, thank you for an enlightening me today and hopefully a lot of people listening because it's fascinating when you don't know what you don't know. And then, it's just oh, I never thought about it that way. Yeah, so thank you. I appreciate that. Okay. And this. Just so we can reiterate, her name of her company is Harmony in Dementia and she does virtual appointments.

Tara:

Yes, and you can find me social media at Harmony in Dementia and then at my website which is www. harmonyindementia and so I would be happy to set up, a consultation or a chat or an email or whatever if you've got questions or are curious about the services that I provide.

Erin:

Absolutely. Thank you so much for today. It was great. It was great. And always to my listeners, aspire for more for you.