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Is It Music Therapy, Music Education or Music Entertainment?

Did you know that music activates every area of the brain? It's true, scientific researchers have observed that listening to music and engagement in music-based activities can affect all areas of the brain. Music activates the “feel-good centers” of the brain, and it can even help create new neural pathways. The benefits of music are abundant and far-reaching!

As a music therapist, one question I receive all the time is What exactly is music therapy?

The definition of music therapy can be broken into two parts:

  1. It involves the use of evidence-based music interventions designed to accomplish specific goals based on the needs of an individual or group.
  2. All of this happens within a therapeutic relationship, and that person is a credentialed professional music therapist.

To break these parts down further, evidence-based interventions are simply music-oriented experiences or activities such as singing, playing an instrument, moving to music, and songwriting, all...

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Why Can’t I Just Use YouTube?

This month, we’re addressing a question we sometimes get in regard to our virtual music engagement program: Why can’t I just use YouTube? It’s definitely a valid question given the nature of the platform with which we’re all most likely familiar. Let’s explore how Bridgetown Music Therapy’s virtual music engagement program measures against, and ultimately stands apart from YouTube.


1. Dementia-friendly Life Enrichment
While YouTube is more entertainment focused, our program is more than just entertainment - it’s enriching for participants. Our content is recreational in nature. The goal isn’t necessarily to learn a skill or topic, but to have fun doing music while benefitting from enriching music-based activities at the same time. It was also intentionally created to be dementia-friendly.

2. Quality
Unlike a lot of content on YouTube, our videos are extremely high quality, produced by a professional videographer on...

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10 Great Resources Every Activity Professional Should Know

Do you ever feel like you’re drowning in your job and just need some guidance? Whether you’re a seasoned Activity Professional, or a newbie, we've compiled these tools and resources specially for you! We’re thrilled to share them with and truly hope they’ll support you in your work.


Activity Connection
For Activity Professionals, Activity Connection is likely a familiar name. This online repository is a treasure trove of resources, empowering senior living communities to enhance resident engagement through a wealth of materials. Alongside a multitude of activity guides, monthly event planning tools, and downloadable content, Activity Connection fosters a dynamic forum where Activity Professionals can exchange ideas and collaborate with peers in their field.

Golden Carers
Similar to Activity Connection, Golden Carers provides an extensive array of meaningful activities for residents in many formats. The platform further supports Activity Professionals by...

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The Healing Power of Music for Caregivers and Their Loved Ones

This month, we’re pleased to feature a guest post from Lee Mohler & Robin Andrews Smith from You & Me Aging and Dementia Coaching. In 2005, Robin and Lee began the important work of helping family caregivers and their loved ones successfully manage late-life transitions. They serve their clients by providing invaluable resources, support, education, insight, advocacy, and more to care partners of individuals living with dementia or dealing with challenges associated with aging. They help those caring for an aging loved one find clarity, make decisions, and live guilt-free leading to life-changing hope and relief! Learn more here: You & Me Aging and Dementia Coaching


The Healing Power of Music for Caregivers and Their Loved One

In the world of caregiving, where love, dedication, and compassion merge, music emerges as an invaluable companion. For both caregivers and the people they care for, music possesses a unique ability to...

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Promoting Excellence in Activity Programs: A Spotlight on the National Association of Activity Professionals

The National Association of Activity Professionals (NAAP) is comprised of Activity Professionals serving Activity Professionals. Our commitment to the health care sector includes providing quality education, ethics, standards of practice, competencies, and advocacy. 

Activity Professionals provide activity services and programs, which enable individuals to maximize their desired potential and personal interest in activity participation. The provisions of activity programs and services are primarily, but not limited to, the geriatric populations who live in a variety of health care settings that may include other populations with special needs. The clients we serve, the settings in which services are provided, and the services we provide are based on the needs of the populations we serve. The activity practice is based on a comprehensive assessment, development, implementation, documentation, and evaluation of the programs provided. In addition, the unique interests, physical,...

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Introducing Zinnia: Better TV for People Living with Dementia

In today's fast-paced and technologically advanced world, it's easy to overlook the profound impact technology can have on people's lives. Technology can be a burden but it can also be a powerful tool to bring joy, healing and transformation. Technology is ever-evolving, and in the world of dementia care, it’s being harnessed to enhance the lives of people living with dementia. One such company that’s created an innovative solution to meet the needs and challenges of people living with dementia is Zinnia TV.

We learned about Zinnia earlier this year and became instant fans. Zinnia was started by four individuals with a passion to make a difference in the lives of people living with dementia. As a person’s brain function declines due to the degenerative nature of dementia, it can become difficult to track a plot, process fast-moving images, and tell fact from fiction. Regular TV can end up being detrimental for people living with dementia because...

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5 Engaging Activities for You and Your Aging Loved One at Home

Are you the primary caregiver or care partner for your loved one living at home? Perhaps you spend a few hours with a special older individual each week? If so, you may be trying to come up with some activities to do with them, and we've got a few ideas to share with you!

First off, how about getting your hands dirty with gardening? Try planting the easiest to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs. It will be rewarding to harvest them and to enjoy the fruit of your labor together. If you’re not interested in growing your own food, try growing flowers. Picking and arranging flowers could be another activity. If you’re not into growing flowers, just buy them from the store or farmer’s market and have fun arranging flowers together. If gardening and growing flowers aren’t working for you, how about simply going on nature walks? See what plants, flowers, birds, insects and other wildlife you can find. Bring a camera along, and take photos of the beautiful...

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What Are the Benefits of Physical Movement for Seniors?

Physical activity has numerous benefits for older adults. For example, people who exercise tend to have improved immune, digestive, and cognitive function. Getting the body moving can also lead to better blood pressure, bone density, muscle tone, mobility, flexibility, balance and coordination. Maintaining regular physical activity can lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, mental health issues and heart disease. Another benefit of note is that it can help decrease risk of fall. In general, physical activity can help combat the effects of aging.

Walking is probably the most basic form of exercise and is great for cardio and keeping the body active and in shape. Stretching also counts as exercise. A little bit of stretching each day will do wonders for the body and is a great regular activity. Did you know that music is a natural motivator for physical movement? The rhythmic nature of music helps the brain and body work together to move in time with...

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How Does Music Benefit People Living with Dementia?

Did you know that music activates every area of the brain?
It's true, scientific researchers have observed that listening to music and engagement in music-based activities affects all areas of the brain. Music activates the feel-good centers of the brain, and it can even help seniors create new neural connections in their brains, which are reasons why music can be so beneficial for people with dementia.

Music is a natural motivator.
Because music can do all kinds of cool things for the brain and body, it makes the perfect tool for engaging individuals with dementia. A few examples: unlocking their past memories, improving mood, increasing energy levels, and promoting relaxation. Singing has amazing benefits such as relieving stress, boosting the immune system, providing comfort, promoting expressive communication and improving lung capacity.

The benefits of music are abundant and far-reaching.
Music can uniquely touch the lives of people living with disease,...

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Musical Instrument Tips and Recommendations for Seniors

Do you, your loved one or care community own any instruments? 

Instrument play is fun and can provide opportunities for playfulness and self-expression as well as physical movement. Playing small percussion instruments for example can target various physical and cognitive goals by addressing fine and gross motor movement, crossing midline, eye-hand coordination, rhythmic entrainment, visual tracking, body and spatial awareness, and visual or auditory cues.

Small percussion instruments like maracas are generally easy to pick up and play without any previous knowledge or experience. Don’t worry about sounding good or playing correctly. You don’t necessarily need to know how to play. Start by exploring the instrument and see what sounds you can make.

If you'd like to get some instruments for your care home or particular setting, I recommend West Music - they have a huge selection of quality instruments at reasonable prices. Some of our...

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