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Music therapy working for patients with Alzheimer’s

Published 10:32am Friday, August 16, 2013

You can also get help from a music therapist. The American Music Therapy Association offers a national directory of more than 6,000 therapists at musictherapy.org to help you find someone in your area.

To keep things fresh, it’s best to create a diverse playlist of numerous artists, with no more than five to 10 songs per artist. It’s also important to keep tweaking their playlist. Every week or so, ask your mom which songs she likes and which ones are just so-so. Remove the so-so ones, and build on the successful ones so you end up with 100 or 200 songs that all resonate.

Music delivery

There are a number of ways you can deliver your mom’s favorite music: a digital listening device, CD player, a computer or tablet, or even an old record player. If you don’t have any music and are on a tight budget, check with your local public library. It may have CD selections you can check out.

Digital listening devices like an iPod or MP3 player are the most convenient and widely used options among music therapists for delivering music, because they’re easy to add and remove songs from.

The $49 Apple iPod Shuffle (apple.com/ipod-shuffle), and $40 SanDisk Sansa Clip MP3 Player (sandisk.com) that require headphones, and the $60 Peabod SweetPea3 MP3 Player (sweetpeatoyco.com), which has an external speaker, are three excellent devices that are extremely simple to use and very affordable.

Another option to consider for listening to music together is through an Internet radio service like spotify.com and rhapsody.com. These services will let you create a customized playlist (for free or a small monthly subscription fee) that your mom and you can listen to via computer, mobile device, home entertainment system, or a home Internet radio like the $180 Logitech UE Smart Radio (ue.logitech.com), which is a great alternative that’s simple to use and compatible with most online radio services.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, Okla. 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

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