A Music Therapist Puts on a Life-Changing Performance for Dementia Patients from Naples

Music holds a special place in people’s hearts due to the various ways it contributes to their lives. You can utilize music as a form of entertainment, passion, hobby, work, or a connection to other people. Most importantly, the art has the power to heal a person mentally and emotionally. Music is a remedy for unseen wounds and minds overwhelmed with negativities. With various genres, you can choose a song that will ease your worries. Lyrics are also vital, especially when you can’t explain your feelings in words. With music, you feel heard and understood. That’s why listening to your favorite pieces can lift your mood as if the sounds chase the anxiety away.

Photo: Youtube/NBC2 News

Moreover, music is always associated with memory. Listening to a particular song can make you feel nostalgic. For instance, hearing the lullaby your mother used to hum while she cradles you to sleep. You’ll immediately feel like traveling through time — giving you comfort and feeling your mother’s love from the song. For this reason, music therapy was invented, which has helped elderly people struggling with dementia. Music exposure has been a life-changing experience for those with Alzheimer’s. It brings forth memories, calms down frustration, and increases social interactions. Patients from Naples can attest to the effects of music on their health. Every time they get serenaded by Jillian Iurlano their minds are wonderfully comforted.

Photo: Youtube/NBC2 News

Jillian has helped the homes she visited with her talent for singing and playing the guitar. She is a board-certified music therapist working for Avow Hospice by visiting five to six homes to play music for half an hour. Every strum is a mind consoled, especially when she plays music loved by the dementia patient. Memories flood the minds of each elderly person that listens to her. “The really neat thing about music is that it’s stored in multiple areas of the brain from the time we are born. One of the very first rhythms that we hear is the rhythm of our heartbeat, the rhythm of our mother’s heartbeat and we have that rhythm that carries us on through life.” Jillian said.

The patient’s family is also thankful whenever Jillian visits and fills their home with music. For them, every time the music therapist starts the song, their loved ones come back to themselves. It’s as if in every strum of a guitar chord, memories rush in. Patients even respond to each song Jillian plays for them. “The essence of Bob is here. I mean he is still our Bob and sweet and kind,” Kathleen Taylor, wife of a dementia patient shared. “There’s nothing that could be better in the whole week than Jillian coming to sing,” she added.

Photo: Youtube/NBC2 News

In every home she visits, Jillian gets to encounter patients with similar stories. Charlie Ahrens’s wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s six years ago. “It felt like I had a big hole in my chest and I was paralyzed,” he said. Since Jillian started serenading his wife, Anne Marie, Charlie felt a huge sense of relief. When the music therapist started to play Kenny Rogers’s song “Through the Years,” Anne Marie responded well. She was smiling as if she and Charlie were both reliving their relationship. The effects of music therapy don’t just heal those directly affected by the disease but also their families. Jillian and her guitar sparked hope in their hearts. It’s an enchanting experience that you can witness in the video below.

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