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How Music Therapy is Changing Lives at the End of Life

by Silverado

What is life without music? Even towards the end of one’s journey, life can still hold meaning and joy, and for some, music helps provide them with just that. Often as powerful as any drug or medication, music’s versatility allows for each patient to enjoy it in their own unique, individualized way.

When a patient initially begins hospice, music therapy is often provided as an optional element of their care. Should they opt for music therapy, a brief discussion is conducted to explain the goals and what to expect, as well as an assessment of the patient’s music history. Gaining insight into the type of connection they have to music helps formulate the optimal plan for the individual. For example, the patient may have favorite songs tied to positive memories, so the therapist might hold sessions where they play those songs and sing along to them.

The benefits of music therapy include, but are not limited to:

  • Pain and anxiety management
  • Pre-bereavement with patients and families
  • Increased quality of life through engagement or reminiscence
  • Decreased loneliness or agitation
  • Cognitive stimulation


Whether it’s listening to a song that brings back warm memories or playing an instrument to express emotions they can’t quite put into words, the actual manner in which music is used in the therapy is based upon the patient and their needs and preferences. One unique and very special instance of music therapy for hospice happened recently with Sam Reese, a patient of Silverado Hospice Austin

On the occasion of his 45th anniversary with his wife, Gloria. Sam created an original love song with the help of a Social Worker, Mark Catalano. Sam provided the core themes, which Mark used to compose the lyrics. Mark was also the one to perform and record the song, a beautiful piece memorializing Sam’s undying love for Gloria.

For more information on Silverado Hospice’s music therapy program,click here.

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