Dr. Laura Beer’s article, The Role of the Music Therapist in Training Caregivers of People who have Advanced Dementia, appeared in the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy in May 2016.
In her article, Dr. Laura Beer notes that music therapy, a research-supported practice, is particularly effective with persons suffering from advanced dementia. Music therapists “access memory, speech and interactive abilities thought to be destroyed by the disease of dementia.” The music therapist’s tools – tone of voice, rhythm and melody, and nuances of gesture – can be taught to fellow caregivers, Beer writes.
For her research, Dr. Beer drew upon her own experience leading more than 20 “enhanced communication trainings” with nurses, community members, and others working in dementia care. She also incorporated a study she conducted, demonstrating a significant effect on caregivers receiving this training. Dr. Beer offers suggestions for music therapists who wish to design similar trainings to educate other professionals caring for people with advanced dementia.
The Nordic Journal of Music Therapy serves the international community of music therapy by being an avenue for publication of scholarly articles, texts on practice, theory and research, dialogues and discussions, reviews and critique. The journal is a collaborative effort between the music therapy communities in the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. This international yet regional foundation provides a platform for development of communication with the broader international community of music therapy. Scholars from all over the world are invited to write for the journal.
Laura Beer is the director of the music therapy program at Marylhurst University. Dr. Beer currently serves as associate editor for the national journal Music Therapy Perspectives. She is an established researcher and author in peer-reviewed journals and a published songwriter.