• How to Reach Veterans with Dementia through Music

    Posted on February 27, 2015 by Jessica Ryan in How To.


    Almost one year ago, PSO musicians Penny Brill and Lorna McGhee visited a St. Patrick’s Day-themed meeting of a cognitive therapy group at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System’s H.J. Heinz Campus. Through a carefully crafted musical program designed in consultation with therapists at the VA, they stimulated conversation and evoked memories for a group of veterans that included several individuals with dementia.

    After the visit, VA Creative Arts Therapist Ginger Dougherty said:

    Penny and Lorna came to this group, and the goals of this small group include improving cognitive function, reality orientation, sensory and environmental stimulation, and improving social interaction. When you meld all of those concepts into an experience with these musicians, what can I say? All of the lights go on. All the buttons are pushed, everything is working, and the body and the mind are alive in a situation like that. It’s excellent.

    In Penny’s newest video, she explains how musicians can effectively prepare for visits such as these. If you’re interested in learning more about planning music and wellness sessions for veterans with dementia or any other population, check out our Music and Wellness Program Handbook as well!

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