living your best to the end

Bringing Creativity into Clinical Practice with Older Adults.

It was a day of music, arts and drama, of passion and compassion, entitled, Bringing Creativity into Clinical Practice with older adults. Bringing creativity into a Clinic Day brought relief and hope to many working with Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. The presentation was refreshingly unlike most clinical education and on breaks, we were greeted by a Drum Circle, lead by Terri Segal, Expressive Arts Therapist, Not just a demonstration, we were encouraged to pick up a percussion tool and join in. A combination exercise and mental health break. Another presenter – a psychiatrist –  showed photography assignments from nursing home residents, whose average age was 87, entitled: “A View of the World though the eyes of the Elderly: I’m 90 going on middle Age.” One of the photos – a self-portrait assignment – won first prize at an art show: it had been submitted anonymously and the winner surprised everyone when she wheeled over to accept. Robin Glazer, Director of the Creative Center: Arts in healthcare, in NYC was quick to point out that her ‘arts’ are not the same as Art Therapy. “There is no agenda here. It’s de-stressing and fun. We have excellent artists who are flexible and design their approach to the audience. For example, in a group of Japanese elders, our artist started with simple Japanese brush strokes: something they’d be familiar with.” She told of her own experience – which she attributes to honing her observational skills through art appreciation: “I was invited to Grand Rounds at a hospital that one of our artists is at. I saw a young man with an unexplained...

Music Therapy: Unlocking the soul

Music has charms they say.. (Joe Jackson: ‘Slow Song’) Amy Clements-Cortes For Amy Clements-Cortes, PhD, MusM, MTA, the charm of music is its ability to accomplish a multitude of health and wellness goals.One of Amy’s areas of specialty is end of life music therapy and specifically using music to help clients complete relationships. “When we complete relationships in our lives, there are key sentiments that need to be expressed to help us accomplish these completions. “I Love You,” “I Forgive You,” “Forgive Me,” “Thank You,” and “Goodbye.” Music can unlock emotions and communication where memory loss or the ability to speak has become an issue. For example with dementia, Parkinson’s and Stroke survivors. “Music provides an outlet for expressions of grieving and loss as people come to the end of their lives. Music helps express feelings that are difficult to speak about such as Holocaust experiences.” Working with fellow health-care professionals such as those in speech/language therapy: “I can help augment the work clients are doing in speech therapy by engaging the client in vocalizing vowel sounds to music, so they can hear their own voices.” It’s not just any music that Amy uses: she makes it specific to the situation and the client, asking what music they liked, gently coaching with prompts such ‘what soothes you, what songs did your relative listen to when they were in their 20s?.’ With the populations Amy treats, this isn’t always possible. “It’s a bit of a fishing expedition I’ll research what music was popular in their day, or if they’re from another culture, will consult with musicians from that culture.” Amy...