"Teresa Wendelberger is a Music Therapist and Client Liaison for SYNERGY HomeCare in Milwaukee County, WI. Teresa meets with prospective families, provides informal music programs for our existing clients, and shares her talent for local senior programs.
Recently, we were asked to provide supportive home care to “Mary” and respite to her spouse “Ben.”
Because Ben was the primary caregiver and taking on many more tasks as Mary’s condition declined, we were able to help him take regular breaks from caregiving, and help Mary with personal care, supervision, and companionship.
Mary was very musically inclined. She played the piano, lead her church choir, and sang for pleasure. Unfortunately, she developed dementia in her later years. In the last six months of her life, she also experienced anxiety, confusion, and distress whenever personal care, particularly bathing tasks, were provided.
We asked Teresa to meet with Mary and family to better understand the role that music might play in her daily care. Sure enough, while singing and reminiscing together, Teresa and the caregiver began helping Mary with some of her personal care. The caregivers saw that music would help Mary recall happy times, but it also provided a distraction from the “task at hand.”
Singing was ultimately integrated into the daily care and support for Mary up until her death. We were so happy to play a role in bringing back the sound of Mary singing in the home! It not only eased Mary’s anxiety, but it also helped the family recall wonderful memories. The magic and power of music!"
- Ruth Busalacchi, Owner, SYNERGY HomeCare of Milwaukee County
Watch this video of Teresa in action:
Caregiver Tips for Incorporating Music:
- Turn off the TV; turn on your favorite CD's, records, even radio stations.
- Invest in an iPod or MP3 player to develop personalized music.
- Reminisce about music.
- If you or your loved one have ever played an instrument, pull it out again. Or listen to music from the instrument once played. Sometimes people "play" along with the music.
- Sing, dance, hold hands while listening to your favorite music.