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Music Therapy Tips to Decrease Symptoms of Sundowning

Read on for ways you can incorporate music into your daily routine if sundowning is an issue for your residents or a loved one in your life.


Kayla Shafer, MA, MT-BC Co-Founder, Keynote Music Therapy


Does an older adult in your life have a difficult time adjusting to the late afternoon and evening hours? Do you notice behavioral and emotional changes in them? Music can be an effective tool to help increase a sense of routine and comfort while decreasing distressing symptoms.


Read on for tips on how to use music to decrease symptoms of sundowning!


Tip #1 - Play familiar music


Simply playing familiar recorded music at a scheduled time each day can reduce confusion and provide a grounding connection point to reality.


Tip #2 - Sing!


Singing familiar music during transition times has been found to decrease agitation and increase pro-social behaviors in older adults (Lesta & Petocz, 2006).


Tip #3 - Put it on the schedule


Be consistent in your routine. Try the same style of music each day, at the same time, and in the same place. The less change, the better.


Tip #4 - Include nature sounds


Try music that incorporates sounds of nature that are comforting to your loved one. Maybe they find the ocean or bird song particularly comforting. There are many recordings on YouTube or Spotify that include these sounds.


Tip #5 - Take the time


Simply taking the time to just sit with your loved one can be a connecting and relaxing experience for both of you. It's okay to take a break.


Want more ideas? Give us a call.

Music therapists are trained to support older adults during these times of transition. Let us support you and your loved one. Give us a call today.

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