Adaptive Music/Dance Therapy: An Activity to Improve Quality of Life in Long Term Care Settings




Nauert, Rick

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As a result of medical advances and improved self-care, people are living longer. By 2050 government forecasts call for 86.7 million individuals aged 65 or older -- encompassing 20.6 percent of the total population. For many, advanced age is accompanied by reduction in mental capabilities and ambulatory capabilities necessitating a need for medical care and/or assistance to perform everyday activities. For the older, old (> 85 years), one of the fastest growing population segments, this often means living in an assisted living or long-term care facility. Although sadness and depression are not a normal characteristic of aging, nursing home residents are often depressed as a host of risk factors accompany aging and residency in a long-term care facility. Interventions to provide mental stimulation, overcome loneliness, foster social support, aid functional capabilities, and improve perception of care are needed for this special population cohort. In an effort to address these issues we initiated a pilot study of an intervention that blended active music therapy and modified danced therapy. Twenty-two residents from two senior facilities (19 skilled residents and 3 from an Assisted Living setting) were assessed. All skilled residents were wheel chair bound while assisted living residents were ambulatory. Three residents dropped from the study. Twice a week, 45-60 minute activity sessions were performed for 8 weeks. Pre-and post-study assessment of cognitive status, depression symptoms, and functional abilities were performed. Regression analysis discovered mild improvements in mental status and cognitive abilities and a significant improvement in depression scores (p = .000).



geriatrics, long term care, depression, quality of life, innovative, low-cost, dance therapy, music therapy, Long Term Care Administration


Texas Long Term Care Institute. (2010). Adaptive music/dance therapy: An activity to improve quality of life in long term care settings. (TLTCI Series Report 2010-1).


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