The Role of Music Therapy in the Relationship between One with Alzheimer's Disease and the Family Caregiver: A Case Study

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Roberts, Laura
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
There is little research that investigates the effect that engagement in music therapy facilitated by a music therapist will have on maintaining or improving the relationship between the person with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and the family caregiver. The purpose of this case study was to examine the role of music therapy in the relationship between one with Alzheimer's disease and the family caregiver. The participants were a husband and wife dyad in which the husband was the care receiver and the wife the caregiver. The couple was involved in a pre-music therapy interview session, four music therapy sessions, and a post-music therapy interview session. During the first and last sessions, the participants were involved in interviews during which the music therapist asked open ended questions to encourage the participants to speak freely about their relationship and their experience with music. The music therapy sessions included techniques such as sing along songs, instrument playing, reminiscing, movement, and self-expression. The couple engaged in meaningful interactions throughout the course of the project. These interactions included smiling, laughing, physical touch, and conversing. During the post-music session, the couple made positive statements about the experience.