Music Matters in the Land of Dementia

How can creating a personal playlist, listening to favorite tunes, singing simple melodies, and pretending to conduct a symphony improve your life? Come to this free workshop and find out.

Music Matters in the Land of Dementia (and Everywhere!) An Interactive Program for Family Friends, Professional Care Partners, Activity Professionals, Musicians, and More

CITLOD very smallIn this lively one-hour session, coming up on July 20, we will share ideas for using music to deepen connections with people who are living with dementia. Some of these ideas, gleaned from top innovators and researchers, are from my upcoming book, Connecting in the Land of Dementia: Creative Activities to Explore Together. According to numerous studies, music improves the lives of those living with dementia by reducing the need for psychotropic drugs, increasing socialization, and relieving depression. The event is going to be joyful and fun and we’d love to experience it with you.

Here’s the workshop information:

Deepen your connections, increase communications, and ratchet up your fun quotient by adding music into your caregiving journey. Authors and dementia advocates Ron Zoglin and Deborah Shouse team up with guitarist Rod Fleeman and singer Cynthia Schroer for this hands-on session. They’ll share easy music-oriented ideas that can soothe anxieties and unlock creativity in people who are living with dementia, as well as splash notes of joy and renewal into the care partners’ lives.IMG_2236

We are partnering with Shalom University to present this free session on July 20th from 10:00 to 11:00 at Village Shalom, at corner of 123rd and Nall, 5500 W 123rd Street, OP 66209. To sign up for this musical experience, just call Bree at (913) 266-8469 or email as soon as possible.

Victor Hugo said it so beautifully: Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent. 

Music Matters

LITLODDuring my mom’s dementia journey, music often inspired and connected us. Here is one of those melodic moments, excerpted from my book, Love in the land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey. The story is set in my mom’s memory care community.

Rochelle, the activity director, sticks in another tape and soon Stardust is playing. 

“Let’s dance,” she says, motioning everyone to stand.

Mom looks up and I offer her my hand. 

“Want to dance?” I ask her.


“Want to dance?” I repeat, making a swirling motion.

“What else,” she says, standing up.

My parents have danced to this song many times, my mother coaxing my father onto the dance floor. I hold hands with Mom and move back and forth to the music. She laughs and does the same. I twirl her, and she walks around in a jaunty little circle. For a moment, her energy and charm have returned. I feel like I have found my long-lost mother. If my father were here, he would not be surprised. He is certain she will return to him and takes every word, every gesture of affection, every smile as a sign of hope.

“Hope is everything,” Dad told me just last week. “I find something hopeful and I milk it for all it’s worth. If it doesn’t work out, then I search for something else. Otherwise, I am in despair.”

I twirl my mom again. It is actually our first real dance together…


Deborah Shouse is the author of Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey.




  1. Deb Edwards on June 28, 2016 at 10:48 am

    This is the widest hiway to the heart with music!!! I’m so glad you are doing this and I wish for it to be done many, many times!

  2. Kim Meisinger on June 29, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Love the excerpt from your book. I’m moving my mom to a memory care unit tomorrow and this is just another beautiful hug from the universe along this journey.
    All blessings for your work!

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