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Rochester, NY — June 29, 2021 — The Music Therapy Program at Jewish Senior Life now has two certified Neurologic Music Therapists (NMTs) on staff. The NMTs, Melody Boyd and Kristina Jewell, use an evidence-based treatment model consisting of 20 researched and standardized techniques for sensorimotor training, speech, language, and cognitive training, and focus on the neuroscience of music to treat the brain and brain connectors in those with injury or disease of the human nervous system.

“The NMTs provide groups on the Neurobehavioral unit and Memory Care unit as well as one of them providing individual visits throughout campus,” says Meghan Bevins, Director of Recreation Therapy at Jewish Senior Life. She continues, For example, one might partner with a Physical Therapist to decrease freezing episodes of a resident with Parkinson’s in order to optimize his safety and independence. In a group setting, both NMTs address individual and group needs through structured music exercises that stimulate cognitive function, access of memory, and movement, while allowing for socialization at each patient’s level of engagement. Music Therapy helps our residents achieve their personal goals and provide a sense of belonging and purpose. With only 7,000 Board Certified Music Therapists (MT-BC) in the United States, we are happy to have this service available to our residents.”

Populations served by NMTs include but are not limited to: stroke and traumatic brain injury survivors, and those dealing with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and other neurological conditions that affect communication, movement and cognition. The special designation requires a four-year degree combined with extensive training, continuing education, and an exam that must be taken every three years to ensure they are up-to-date on current research and intervention changes.

Jewish Senior Life also offers various music programs, including SingFit, Simpl Players, Music and Memory, and live performances from artists around the Rochester community. SingFit is the most recent venture, and allows for failure-free singing through a lyric-prompting track; as well as interactive group sessions that include movement and reminiscence through musical interaction. In addition, Jewish Senior Life’s current artist-in-residence, Ashlen Wright, is a vocalist training at Nazareth College who provides music for all its residents.