As a death doula, I have had the privilege of accompanying people on their end-of-life journeys. One thing I have learned is that music can play an important role in providing comfort and solace during this difficult time.
Music has the power to evoke deep emotions and memories, which can be especially meaningful as people reflect on their lives and prepare for their final moments. It can also be a source of comfort and relaxation, helping to ease the physical and emotional pain that often accompanies end-of-life care.
Here are just a few of the ways in which music can be incorporated into end-of-life care:
Creating a Personalized Playlist
One of the most powerful ways to use music in end-of-life care is by creating a
personalized playlist for the person who is dying. This can include songs that have
special meaning to them, such as their favorite songs from their youth or songs that
were played at their wedding. Listening to these songs can help evoke happy memories
and provide a sense of comfort and familiarity during this transition time.
Playing Live Music
Live music can be especially meaningful at the end of life. Whether it is a professional
musician or a family member playing an instrument. Live music can create a sense of
connection; capturing the essence of the moment and providing a soothing and calming atmosphere. Ideally the music and instrument choice is tailored to the departing person’s wishes and can be played day or night, helping to create a peaceful environment.
In end-of-life care, music therapy can help relieve pain, reduce anxiety, diminish stress, and improve overall quality of life. It can also help people express their emotions and connect with others. Any type of instrument that brings joy or that maybe bring up heart warming memories can be used as long as it suits the needs of the departing person. Maybe a little harmonica or a little drum can be used to join in on a live jam session with family and friends. These musical moments can be a great space for everyone to connect and feels their way through the intensity of the times. But it is always important to check in often and make sure the person departing is comfortable with the volume, duration and intensity.
Guided relaxation is a technique that uses music and visualization to promote relaxation
and reduce stress. This can be especially helpful for people who are experiencing
physical pain or discomfort, as it can help them to relax their muscles and focus on
positive images and sensations.
I have seen the power of music in end-of-life care. Whether it is through creating a personalized playlist, playing live music, using music therapy, or guided relaxation, music can provide a sense of comfort, connection, and solace during a challenging and emotional time. It is a powerful tool that can help people to find peace and meaning during their final moments, and it is an honor to be able to incorporate it into my work as a death doula.