• Development of a theory of elder music therapy as integral aging.

      O'Reilly, Caitlin Marie (2013-03-27)
      As our elderly population increases, more music therapists will be providing services to the elderly in a variety of settings: community-based programs, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities. Our society takes a dim view of aging, attempting to perpetuate youthful activities and physical appearance. There is little in the literature connecting music therapy with the field of gerontology, and even less on the connection between music and spirituality. This thesis is an attempt to fill these gaps, and to provide a starting point for music therapists so they can begin to examine their own philosophies and theories of music therapy and the elderly. The purpose of this thesis is to describe the journey of one music therapist's process in developing a theory of elder music therapy. The researcher provides a survey of music therapy literature describing music therapy research with the well- and unwell-elderly; an examination of Erikson's theory of human development and the aging theories of activity, disengagement, continuity, successful aging, and gerotranscendence; and a discussion of aging and spirituality. The researcher discusses a model of integral aging and the role of music and spirituality in the context of developing a theory of elder music therapy. Implications for music therapists are discussed.