Music therapy helping Parkinson’s and dementia patients with speech, movement
Music therapy uses rhythms or beats to accomplish help those with Parkinson’s and dementia with speech and movement.
Five years ago, Gordon Williams was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, which has had an impact on his speech and movement.
Three months ago, he started music therapy to help.
Tyne Heenan, a music therapist in Regina, works with Williams once a week.
“The external tempos or rhythms and beats that I’m using, a patient or client will be able to internalize,” Heenan said. “They’ll feel that in their heart rate and their respiratory rate.”
People naturally entrain to the rhythm of music, which means the brain processes the music and muscles react without a conscious thought.
It starts from an early age.
“Children that are very, very small will respond to music. It’s such a natural response – we don’t have to teach it, we don’t have to show them what to do. They just naturally respond to music,” Heenan said.
Williams said the therapy has been helping him significantly.
“It helps me with my speaking and it helps me with my movement a bit,” Williams said.
His wife, Shirley, agreed.
“He’s learning to slow down and talk louder, so I can hear him,” she said.
Heenan uses beats to help Williams with his mobility. It helps reduce his shuffling, and improves his balance.
Songs help his speech by improving his pronunciation.
Along with Parkinson’s, music therapy has been beneficial for development in young children, as well as people with Alzheimer’s, Dementia or who have suffered an accident which affects speech or mobility.
People do not have to have a referral from a doctor to see a music therapist.