New program provides music therapy for dementia patients

Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 3:12 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Healing Harmonies is a one-of-a-kind program in the state of Mississippi. It focuses on using music to assist dementia patients.

The collaborative effort by Anderson Regional Health System, Mississippi State University, Meridian Symphony Association and the MAX is a way to help neurology patients access fond memories and bring hidden memories to the forefront.

“Dementia, Alzheimer’s patients, and their caregivers didn’t really have an outlet,” Meridian Symphony Association Executive Director Carra Purvis said. “A source of assistance, education and help through that really difficult process, so that’s where we started.”

Music can transcend barriers and that’s apparently true when it comes to memory loss and helping those with dementia.

“They have seen that it emotionally and cognitively affects the patient in a positive way,” Dr. Zaineb Daud with the Anderson Neurology Center explained. “There are cases when a patient listens to the music they listened to when they were young and are able to recall a lot of memories.”

Dr. Daud said music can lessen anxiety and help calm down a person with dementia. An estimated 6.5 million Americans 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2022.

“If the patient has always been into a certain kind of music, then put that music on for them and let them enjoy that,” Daud said.

Tuesday’s program was the first of many. They will meet every Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the MAX.

“Mississippi State University has come alongside us,” Purvis explained. “This program will be an official intern site for their department of education and their department of counseling. Those students will come alongside us and be working the patients, as well.”

If you would like more information or to signup, then you can register by calling 601-693-2224.

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