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  Sunday January 25th, 2015    

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A sound of music, a flurry of emotion (06/16/2014)
By Amelia Wedemeyer
Although it is easy to forget, music is one of the most significant ways a person can connect with his feelings. From the way a person’s ears perk up to the sound of her favorite song being played, to the emotion portrayed on an Olympic athlete’s face as he hears his national anthem play over a stadium’s loudspeakers. Movies and television use music to convey fear, sadness, excitement, anger and a variety of emotions.

“Everyone can relate to music,” Elder Network’s Renee Kreter said. “It’s a great way to release some stress, find enjoyment, and make a social connection.”

The Elder Network will host Musical Connections, an educational event involving the use of music for therapy, on June 25, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Winona Family Community Center activity room. The event, which will be hosted by registered music therapist Sue Degallier, is free and open to all.

“Every month [the Elder Network has] a different community education event that we open to the public,” explained Kreter. “Everybody is welcome to come. We have younger people, professionals — it’s open to everybody who loves music.”

The Elder Network’s monthly education event varies in size depending on the topic, but Kreter said that she sees anywhere from 15 to 44 people. “When we held [programs] on Alzheimer’s and elder abuse, the activity room was very full,” she said. Musical Connections, which will address how music can be used to help people suffering from dementia, depression and other health related issues. “It’s important for us to realize how beneficial music is and how it can help us,” Kreter explained. “Music brings enjoyment; it’s a good way to work out feelings, and it’s another tool in helping us live a life that is as healthy as possible.”

The Elder Network will provide refreshments as participants listen to Degallier speak about how music can be used for treatment in many different situations. Degallier said that the event could be very beneficial for people working in respite or hospital care, and also those who have loved ones dealing with various health problems because of the different ways music can be used. “Let’s say you have a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Music is a great tool for recalling memories,” explained Degallier. “Very often you have a person with these diseases that won’t engage in every day conversation, but if you happen to play a song that was popular back when they were young, it will bring back a memory for them, and it will be easier to have a conversation about that event.”

Even though the event is part of the Elder Network, both Kreter and Degallier stressed that all ages are invited, and the impact music therapy can have on everyone. “Music also helps with the perception of pain because the mind is focusing on something other than the present situation,” Degallier said. “[Music can be] used in conjunction with other kinds of therapy. It lowers blood pressure, breathing rate, and [can help with] depression by incorporating certain types of music that are uplifting and get the body moving at a faster rate.”

No RSVP is required to attend Musical Connections, but if you would like more information please contact Renee Kreter at (507) 452-0580.  


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