In one of her most memorable experiences, Adrienne recalls working with an advanced-stage dementia patient. She was playing guitar and sitting next to him. When she finished, he opened his eyes, looked at her and whispered “beautiful…beautiful.”
“Music can bypass the damaged areas of the brain and make new connections,” said Adrienne. It has been shown to improve respiration, lower blood pressure, lower the heart rate, relax muscles and can help patients manage pain and discomfort.
Adrienne uses a variety of instruments which can have different effects of patients. A Native American flute and Reverie Harp provide calming tones in the pentatonic scale while she uses her voice and guitar for other songs. Varying the instrument and the tempo provide flexibility when working with hospice patients.
Adrienne recently spoke to Mercy Hospice volunteers about the benefits of music therapy to hospice patients. To demonstrate the power of the therapy, she showed a video on how a dementia patient responded by singing words to the tune “My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean.”
With an undergraduate degree from DePaw University in Indiana and her master’s degree from Lesley University in Boston, Adrienne now shares her musical talents and gifts with many Mercy Hospice patients and family members.
“Hospice can be a difficult time,” said Adrienne adding that music can often provide an environment that not only relaxes the patient, but also eases anxiety, tension and concern for family members as well.