36 THE QUEENS COURIER • HEALTH • MARСH 5, 2020 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
New Dialysis Center opens at Queens Boulevard Extended Care Facility
PHOTOS BY DEAN
Care Facility celebrated
of its new, state-ofthe
art, fully accredited
Dialysis Center in
Woodside on Feb. 27.
The Potential of Music Therapy and Aging
Music therapy is an established, evidence
based concept that promotes the
health goals within a therapeutic setting.
Its benefi ts are recorded in numerous
studies that recommend a personalized
approach to conditions that include
autism, brain injury, Alzheimer’s, pain
management and more.
Music therapy benefi ts people of all
ages, but especially the aged individual.
Th e creative potential that music off ers
is a familiar and universal experience.
Even those who may be tone-deaf can still
express themselves in an organized rhythmic
pattern. In fact, tonal rhythmic music
can be an inward experience or an outward
expression. Both hold great promise for
physical, mental, as well as spiritual growth.
Music off ers personal day-to-day comfort
as well as a therapeutic tool for those
with medical issues that I have mentioned
earlier. It provides numerous opportunities
for creative and imaginative self-expression.
In short, music has kept many of
us going and will continue to do so.
Pablo Casals, the great cellist, played
each morning and well into his 90s, to
limber up his fi ngers that were bound by
rheumatoid arthritis. Albert Schweitzer
played Bach before dinner each night and
claimed that music allowed him to continue
his work unimpeded.
Numerous studies have shown the
elderly with dementia who cannot communicate,
can learn the basic rhythms
and drumming patterns. It was concluded
in one study, that when these drumming
patterns were played, the anxiety and isolation
was reduced for those diagnosed
with dementia, and in several cases, pharmacological
needs were either reduced or
Gabby Giff ords, a former congresswoman
from Arizona, who suff ered a near-fatal
gunshot to her head in 2011, credits
music therapy for her regaining the ability
to speak once again.
Current research from the Aarhus
University in Denmark, underscores the
music-brain connection. By using magnetic
imaging, they tracked the impact
of sound on the brain that revealed a link
between music and dopamine, a neurotransmitter
chemical that’s found in the
body and which is involved in emotional
behavior and mood regulation. Results
showed an improvement in mood aft er
exposure to music, but mood deterioration
aft er noise exposure.
Because of the growing recognition of
the therapeutic value of music to a fragile
aged population, Congress authorized,
through the Older Americans Act, funding
for further research, training and education
in the fi eld of music therapy.
Here are but a few examples that I have
personally witnessed in my professional
career regarding the use of music as it is
applied to the aged population:
1. An elderly man who improvised
the lyrics to an old but familiar tune by
expressing it poetically;
2. An elderly woman who requested
from her loved ones that baroque chamber
music be played before her bedtime to
ease the intractable pain she was experiencing
from her cancer;
3. A mentally regressed resident who
“came alive” when hearing a volunteer
play a banjo to a favorite tune of his;
4. A blind resident who was able to
teach the signifi cance of the music scale to
a group of children who were visiting the
facility that day;
5. An elderly resident with a diagnosis
of aphasia that resulted from a stroke,
was able to mouth the music coming from
Neuroplasticity, a scientifi c proven reality,
demonstrates how the brain has the
ability to “rewire itself.” Neuroplasticity
envisions new pathways that can be
formed by tapping into alternate areas of
the human brain that have not been damaged
by physical trauma, or “invaded” by
disease with catastrophic consequences.
A board certifi ed music therapist who is
currently the Director of Communications
American Music Th erapy Association,
crystallized the therapeutic value of music
in one succinct sentence, “To learn to
Ornstein is a
has specialized in the care of
older adults and has published
many articles on the subject.
He has done post-graduate
work in gerontology and has
taught at several universities.
In 2013, he was inducted into
the Nursing Hall of Fame at
Teachers College, Columbia
speak again we use music and singing as
Reggae artist Bob Marley, sings us a
song entitled Trench Rock, “one good
thing about music, when it hits you, you
feel no pain.” Turns out he was on to
something, perhaps even therapeutic.
Quotable quote: “What the mind can’t
remember, the heart never forgets.”
Sheldon Ornstein Ed.D, RN, LNHA