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Much has been written on the topic of music therapy with older adults, especially when it comes to nursing homes and using music to address symptoms such as dementia resulting from Alzheimer’s and related diseases. But what about the role music therapy plays with residents in independent and enhanced or assisted living neighborhoods? Working across an entire continuum means that the music therapist has to become familiar with not only the residents and team members in each facility –but also the culture- and adapt accordingly. The purpose of this presentation is threefold: (1) to describe the role of music therapist from independent living to skilled nursing; (2) to demonstrate a successful collaboration between music therapy, nursing, and other healthcare professions; and (3) to educate about how to form similar partnerships in other healthcare organizations.

Speakers Kristi Faby, MM, MT-BC, NMT and Colleen Cove will describe how they worked together to build a successful expressive therapies program, where music therapy is viewed as a clinical service, versus activity. They will discuss how successful collaboration between their fields can result in stronger clinical services overall and an important balance between the social and medical models. Workshop attendees will leave with concrete action steps they can take to establish strong connections at work and, as a result, better patient care.

Kristi Faby
Kristi Faby

Kristi Faby is a Board Certified Music Therapist, Neurologic Music Therapist, and Certified Dementia Practitioner holding a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s in Music Therapy from Florida State University. Kristi began working with older adults as a music therapist at North Hill, a continuing care retirement community in Needham, MA, where she ultimately became expressive therapies manager. In that role, Kristi was able to collaborate with the Healthcare Director and Chief of Clinical Services to move music therapy into Healthcare Services (as opposed to Activities). She also expanding the internship program and hired North Hill’s first art therapist. 

In May, Kristi graduated from the LeadingAge Massachusetts Leadership Academy, a program that builds leadership skills in aging services professionals. This fall, Kristi accepted a position as Program Director with Senior Living Residences at its flagship memory care community, Compass on the Bay, in South Boston. Kristi is passionate about the arts and medicine and brings a creative and therapeutic approach to treating individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other neurological impairments.

Colleen Cove
Colleen Cove

Colleen Cove has 40+ years experience in providing evidence-based care to individuals and families living with dementia. She is a Registered Nurse, Certified Dementia Practitioner, and End of Life Doula. She currently serves as Nurse Educator, Director of Staff Development, and Consultant to several Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Residences.

At North Hill, Colleen has taken charge of the COVID-19 pandemic in Pines Edge Skilled Nursing Facility. She is the campus’s expert on all things pertaining to infection control as well as creating meaningful ways to reach residents during periods of isolation. Colleen is extremely passionate about alternative medicine and is always learning about the latest advances in memory care and the arts. A lover of live music, in her spare time Colleen also enjoys hiking and spending time with her children and her recently adopted puppy!

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