Uses of music therapy with Alzheimer's patients and those with related dementias in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama

Monita Prine McLemore

Abstract

The study's purpose was to investigate the uses of music therapy in the three contiguous southern states of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. Special emphasis was placed on its uses with Alzheimer's patients and patients with related dementias. Research indicated there were about eight major symptoms that afflicted Alzheimer's patients, and it was noted that many related dementia patients suffered from most of these same symptoms. Although other possible important symptoms were not purposely ignored, the study centered mainly on if and/or how music therapy could improve the quality of life for these patients in such ways as decreased wandering, improved memory and recall, a decrease in disruptive behaviors, improvement in social functioning and social behaviors, improved eating and sleeping habits, a decrease in stress, agitation, anxiety and fear, improved communication with less aphasia, and improved bathing routine cooperation and other activities of daily living. A questionnaire was mailed to 108 hospitals and nursing homes representing all areas of the three southern states of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. A total of 67 questionnaires (61%) were returned. An analysis of the data gathered from this questionnaire indicated that: (1) There are available certified music therapists in each of the three states, but only three (of 11) are working in the profession in Mississippi; only five (of 46) are working in the profession in Louisiana; and none (of 34) are working in the profession in Alabama. (2) There was agreement among respondents that music is an effective tool in working with Alzheimer's patients and those with related dementias.