Caregiving 101: Music Activities and Behavioral Outbursts

Caregiving 101: How To Use Music



Caregivers across the country struggle with finding ways to connect to their loved ones with dementia as issues progress. Scott Silknitter of R.O.S. Therapy Systems spoke on the Good Morning Show about how music can be used to make a difference.

For years, music therapists have used music for things like memory recall, creating positive changes in moods and creating opportunities to interact socially with others.

When you want to try playing music for your loved one, as you need to set them up for success.

First, identify what music your loved one enjoys. Once you know the music, you have to look at how it is delivered.

Several options include:

  • smart phones or tablets
  • earbuds
  • headphones
  • bluetooth speakers
  • radio
  • cable television music channels


Scott Silknitter also discussed what caregivers should do when their loved one with dementia or other issues has a behavioral outburst.

Your loved one may do things like:

  • Give you the silent treatment and be sad
  • Start rocking in their chair or repeating things over and over again
  • Yell or throw things

Silknitter said there is always a reason for a behavior and what he teaches caregivers is to remember that behaviors are a means to communicate when words are no longer effective.

He said caregivers need to become detectives and figure out what is triggering the behavior. There will be clues, but they may not be obvious.

If you want to diffuse the situation while you are looking for those clues, you need to: 

  • stay calm – no yelling
  • be guiding, but not controlling in your communication style
  • be observant and pay attention to details
  • know your loved one's habits, wants, likes and routines

If you are a caregiver who needs help or tips, you can contact Scott Silknitter, President of R.O.S. Therapy Systems, LLC by emailing or by clicking here.


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