Music Therapy Offers a High Note in End-of-Life Care
About 15 percent of music therapists now work in a geriatric setting, according to a 2017 survey by the American Music Therapy Association. About 10 percent work with terminally ill patients. A recent article from the New York Times examines the growth of music therapy in end-of-life care, interviewing music therapists, terminally ill patients, and their family members.
Music therapy is a board-certified health profession that has about 7,500 practitioners nationwide. “While it has not been proven to extend life, multiple studies have shown music therapy can improve quality of life, inspire feelings of peace, spirituality and hope, and reduce pain,” writes Sharon Otterman, author of the New York Times story.
The article offers two examples of women who are suffering from memory loss and advanced dementia. In singing songs with their music therapist, they became lucid and joyful in ways that created peace of mind for their families.
“When we talk about end-of-life work, we are talking about loss,” Kristen O’Grady, a music therapist who works with terminally ill children and their families at the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center in Yonkers, told the New York Times. “But music is an inherently creative process. So we are directly opposing this feeling of loss with a feeling of creation. We are having creative, new experiences even in the last moments of someone’s life.”
There’s no question that pairing the right care and services at the right time can have transformative benefits – both for those receiving end-of-life care and their families. Our Bridgeway Care Management & Home Care Division is guided by our mission of assisting seniors in achieving lives of dignity, quality, and respect. Our care team of compassionate professionals treats our clients as if they were their own family members.
Maybe most importantly, we work with seniors and their families to implement customized care plans that remove uncertainties and deliver the best possible care. In a family’s most difficult moments, it’s our privilege to offer harmony.