Music Therapy for Dementia
They say that “music is the key to the soul.”
This is so true and is especially important as it relates to seniors and senior health.
In fact, music is an integral component of the recreational programs at many nursing facilities.
We have found (and ongoing research supports this) that music helps aging patients with cognitive impairment fight the loneliness and depression that are resultant from this disease.
Norm Foster, who is the Director of The Center for Alzheimer’s Care, Imaging and Research at the U, posits that “meaningful sound will activate parts of the brain damaged in Alzheimer’s disease.”
Music is such an incredible tool and has the power to evoke strong associations and emotions.
Indeed, music is helpful for even the most advanced of Alzheimer’s patients.
Neurologist Oliver Sacks says that, “Music evokes emotion, and emotion can bring with it memory… it brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.”
Many people attest to their ability to recall important events and milestones via a familiar tune, long after the events occurred.
As dementia progresses and there is a decline in cognitive and mental processing, the sound of music will continue to ‘resonate’ with the patient and aid in their personal wellbeing, because these activities have no correlation with cognitive functioning.
In fact, many people with Alzheimer’s will be capable of singing songs, including actual lyrics, long after their disease has progressed beyond the point of recognizing their loved ones, or even recalling what transpired only several minutes earlier.
In addition, these patients who typically lose the ability to share their emotions with others will be able to tap into music as their medium for interacting (even dancing) with their caregivers, all of which fosters their sense of security and serenity.
Thus, in the final analysis, although it is clear that music will not stop (or even slow down) the progression of this disease, it is clearly of immeasurable benefit to the patient.
So go ahead, take your elderly loved one to a concert and tap into the soothing sounds of life!
Get started by creating a dementia playlist for your loved one.