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Idalina Aguiar, member of the European Working Group of People with Dementia, finds music therapy beneficial

Thursday 23 May 2019

As someone living with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's, I believe in the importance of complementarity between pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies. A complementary and fundamental therapy in the treatment of many pathologies is music therapy, which I have been attending regularly, since 2012. I am a staunch advocate of music therapy, because I have seen it do wonderful things for people and it is one of the tools I use most.

Music therapy is a therapeutic intervention, which allows people to express themselves verbally and/or nonverbally. It is a person-centred therapeutic process that allows us to adjust therapeutic intervention to the specific interests, needs and goals of each individual. Music therapy can be applied in diverse populations, from pre-school children to older people, with the objective of optimising their quality of life and improving their physical, emotional, cognitive and social well-being. I would like people to rethink the importance of the complementarity of treatments, to integrate them and to recognise their importance.

Last year, at the 28th Alzheimer Europe Conference, my daughter Nélida and I presented a poster on this topic. We were pleasantly surprised to win 2nd prize in the conference poster competition. We donated our prize money to the day centre, which I attend. The money has been earmarked especially to allow other centre-users to enjoy music therapy sessions, with a certified music therapist. For at least the next 6 months, the "Garouta do Calhau" day centre is guaranteed a music therapist (who also has other skills). They join a fantastic team of professionals who have done everything possible to make it a National Reference Center, in responding to the needs of people with dementia.