HomeBlogMusic as an agent for socialization and improvement of the quality of life of the elderly. Intergenerational Programme.

Music as an agent for socialization and improvement of the quality of life of the elderly. Intergenerational Programme.

The World Federation of Music Therapy defines music therapy as the use of music or its musical elements (sound, rhythm, melody and harmony) by a trained music therapist with a client or group, in a process designed to facilitate and promote communication, relationships, learning, mobilization, expression, organization and other meaningful therapeutic goals to meet physical, emotional, mental, social and cognitive needs. Music therapy seeks to develop the potential or restore the functions of the person so that he or she can achieve better intrapersonal and/or interpersonal integration and, consequently, a better quality of life, through prevention, rehabilitation or treatment

Dementias are becoming more and more frequent in our society due to the ageing of the population and there is a growing awareness of the need to address it from all possible levels. Among the objectives most shared by the professionals who attend to these people is that of improving the quality of life and delaying the progress of the disease as much as possible.

As part of this collective effort, the contributions of "non-pharmacological therapies", also known as "integrative therapies", have progressively evolved. Non-pharmacological therapies (NPT) are those whose therapeutic intervention is not based on the influence of chemical agents, but rather on the provision of a stimulating and psychosocial context appropriate to the needs of the people who participate in them. Non-pharmacological therapies can be directed at both people with dementia and their caregivers, whether family members or professionals. These include creative art therapies, which are those that use artistic languages to promote the emotional and mental health of people. Music therapy stands out from all of these for its wide use, original practice, versatility, effectiveness and production of knowledge.

Bearing this in mind, we have developed a project at Matia Fundazioa which has consisted of using music as a socialising element between elderly people who use the Day Centre and children from the surrounding schools, and as a result of this inter-generational meeting it has been possible to record a DVD reflecting the benefits of this activity. The sessions have been guided by fun, musical games, dancing adapted to the circumstances of the participants, singing, playing musical instruments, etc.

This project has been directed by psychologists specialised in intervention with older people and a professional music therapist.

The expected effects of this activity are as follows:

  • To enhance social skills and satisfactory interpersonal relationships
  • Improving adaptation to the environment
  • Decrease negative moods and anxiety
  • Enhancing neuronal activation

The general assessment of the project has been very positive, having observed that people have enjoyed the activity a lot, that even people with a serious cognitive impairment who find it difficult to participate in other activities have participated, and that during the sessions behavioural disorders have decreased notably.

See video of the project: Matia Fundazioa - Intergenerational Music Therapy Programme 

We would like to thank the following for their collaboration in this project

  • Teams: Julián Rezola Day Centre, Ricardo Bermingham Day Centre, Elizarán Day Centre, Fraisoro Day Centre
  • Iñigo Olaetxea Assistant Elizaran Day Centre (Bertsolari)
  • Ikastolas: Santo Tomás High School (Donostia), Amara Berri Ikastola (Donostia), Orixe Ikastola (Donostia), San Millán Eskola (Zizurkil)
  • Music therapist: Musikanaiz (Donostia)




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