If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away. Henry David Thoreau

Hi, my name is Jim Latta and I am an aged care music therapy specialist and consultant

Music Therapy in Aged Care.

Working with the elderly requires a different set of skills and knowledge to ensure they receive the appropriate support.
This means, among other things, understanding the different issues that are faced by older people, such as bereavement, chronic illness, palliative care, the dementias, death, depression, and how to provide them with the appropriate support.

What is Jim Latta Music Therapy Aged Care Services?

What Jim Latta Music Therapy Aged Care Services has to Offer

I have found that some of the positive effects of creative music therapy for Dementia patients include;

Some positive effects of creative music therapy for the carers of Dementia clients include:

What I Do Now

Educational Presentations and In services

In-service: Fusing Music, Humor and Reminiscence


Staff Training: Anger Management

First Presented to MISSION AUSTRALIA Staff in REDFERN, NSW

Staff Training: Soundscape of facility, and auditory perception


Staff Training: Music Therapy ideas for activity officers

First Presented to CANBERRA CIT Woden Campus, (TAFE)

Staff Training: Music Therapy and the Dementias


Staff Training: Enhancing residents lives through Music Therapy


Client and Staff Presentation: Music Therapy in Aged Care


Client and Staff Presentation: The Potency of Rhythm


As part of my approach to music therapy in aged care I use a series of triggers to assist these outcomes and some of these are;


The Macquarie dictionary describes reminiscence as; “The act or process of remembering one’s past … a mental impression retained and revived … a recollection narrated or told … something that recalls or suggests something else…”

Reminiscence often enables people to see their lives in perspective, to appreciate their achievements and hence regain some of the confidence which is frequently lost as increasing frailty leads to decreased independence. Those people with the ability to remember the past to value their memories, appear to relate more fully to the present” David Battersby, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga NSW

Reminiscing is something we all do, when old friends meet, at a family get together, the school reunion, funerals. It can also be a private pastime, we can spend time daydreaming, remembering the good and bad times in our lives.
Bob Price from Alzheimer education says that, “Reminiscing is more than just talking about the past. It involves feelings and the recall of sounds and smells and tastes and touch.

When we reminisce we can replay whole sequences of events over and over in our mind.
One reminiscence can lead to many others.
Thoughts and feelings trigger off other thoughts and the resulting emotions may range from sadness to happiness, joy to anger, elation to grief ”.


Jim Salute“Humor produces psychological and physiological effects on our body that are similar the health benefits of aerobic exercise. These benefits are some of the best kept secrets from those persons who probably have the most to gain from that information older adults.
Many of them who must live with chronic pain, arthritis, rheumatism, emphysema, memory loss, depression, and stress may be able to cope better with their conditions or find temporary relief by using humor … older adults who chortle regularly will experience increased interpersonal responsiveness, alertness, and memory. Laughter stimulates the immune system, off-setting the immunosuppressive effects of stress”, Dr Ronald A Berk, John Hopkins University, School of Nursing, Baltimore, USA.
The Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, founded in 1988, defines therapeutic humor as, “ Any intervention that promotes health and wellness by stimulating a playful discovery, expression, or appreciation of the absurdity or incongruity of life’s situations”

Humor gives us a different perspective on our problems.
If we can make light of the situation, it is no longer threatening to us.
We already discounted its effect.

With such an attitude of detachment, we feel a sense of self- protection and control in our environment.
It is sometimes difficult to force a laugh in tense situations but that’s precisely when you need it most.
One trick for finding humor in the worst of situations is to blow things absolutely ridiculously out of proportion.
When your scenario reaches the point of absurdity, you begin to smile. The situation is put in perspective. Now you can calm down.
I often fuse humor and music.
Impersonate Groucho Marx, tell funny stories, or just do ’Patch Adams’ stuff.
It works!


“Dementia strips people down to the essence of their being and frees them to be more directly in touch with their emotions.
They communicate with greater authenticity than our customary conventional reliance on controlled emotional expression” Faith Gibson, 1998
“That song is lovely, but it makes me feel so old …. “ 

Really? Well… I love Beethoven and Bach … can you imagine how old that makes ME feel?
“Thank you for that. I can’t remember what I did, but I know I enjoyed it”

"This highlights an aspect of dementia that is often forgotten. People may forget quite quickly, but emotional memory lingers.
Feelings of frustration, joy, happiness, or despair may continue well past the event that provoked the feeling. The capacity for feeling and emotion is not lost on the person with dementia. Extensive libraries on dementia give us information on continence, but not contentment, entries on helplessness and hoarding, but not happiness. In the field of dementia, it seems we don’t write about or research love, happiness or fun, yet these are the essentials that make life worthwhile, and still occur in dementia.
Dementia requires funding, and the way we go about selling dementia to attract funding dollars is to spin the deficits, the despair and loss as far as we can. But in doing so, we reinforce only looking at dementia through the lens of loss for the people with dementia, family and carers. The more we see that people with dementia, when given the correct support and care can live rewarding and happy lives, the less cause there will be for fear of the condition.
Perhaps if we are less fearful and more aware of our own loss of positivism when relating to our loved ones with dementia, we will be less inclined to think the only hope is to end their lives". These are some of the views from Tessa Perrins, ‘Wellbeing in Dementia’ and Merideth Gresham, Senior dementia design consultant Hammond Care Dementia Center

Client 1 Resize

With my proven experience of over thirty years using music as a therapeutic tool for healing, I engage people in meaningful music experiences that are planned and adapted to meet people where they are, with what they need.

The information on this site and the links will help you to understand more about just what ‘a different drummer’ is all about.

So if you would like to know more about me as a musician, my workshops or a wide range of possibilities, please check out the music, books, videos, photos, tips, and ideas throughout the website about living better lives through music.

I invite you to contact me with any other obligation free questions.