Musical Notes with Melissa: Music to Cure The Winter Blues

Melissa Pate

As Daylight Savings comes to an end this month, so do our days of endless sunshine. Temperatures will drop and the sun will set early, leaving us to feel as though it’s 8pm, when really, the evening has just begun! Some of us may feel the “winter blues” during this time, which is normal. The NIH states that we may feel a less energized, little bit down or less interested in our usual activities and hobbies. When we are not able to spend as much time outside, especially under the sun, we can begin to feel restless. This is true for our residents, too, especially those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, who may not be able to communicate what they’re feeling or why.

Music serves as a beautiful antidote to these winter blues. Whether it’s singing, instrument playing or dancing, music creates an opportunity to express ourselves and connect with others joyfully. A recent study found that music therapy likely “reduces depressive symptoms and improves overall behavioral problems at the end of treatment. It may also improve emotional well-being and quality of life and reduce anxiety.”

Individual and group music therapy sessions can:
• Provide opportunities for verbal or musical self-expression
• Provide regular social interaction in a smaller environment
• Improve mood
• Provide safe emotional release
• Decrease anxiety and agitation

Here at Kensington Park, we’re gearing up for a lively season ahead with music therapy. For example, our handbell choirs will be back in session across campus, performing cheery holiday tunes for all to hear! Our team of three Board-Certified Music Therapists are skilled in addressing the social and emotional needs of our residents, both in individual and group settings. To find out more about music therapy or to explore if music therapy is the right fit for you or your loved one, email Melissa Pate, MT-BC at: mpate@kensingtonsl.com.

*van der Steen JT, Smaling HJ, van der Wouden JC, Bruinsma MS, Scholten RJ, Vink
AC. Music-based therapeutic interventions for people with dementia. Cochrane Database
Syst Rev. 2018 Jul 23;7(7):CD003477. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003477.pub4. PMID:
30033623; PMCID: PMC6513122

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