We all have that one song that takes us back to a single moment in time. Or a song that when we hear, we can immediately picture someone’s face. Research has shown how listening to music while studying can help increase performance on tests or exams. Clearly there is a link between music and our minds. This is the same for individuals with dementia. Music therapy is one way that medical professionals are suggesting to use with the elderly. In this article we’ll discuss the music therapy benefits on dementia.
Music Therapy Benefits For Dementia
Doctors have stated that because music touches so many parts of the brain, when a person hears the music, it may be reaching parts of the brain not affected by dementia and bringing them to the forefront. Here are some of the effects music can have on people with dementia.
- Memory recollection
- Increased ability to communicate
- Recognition of people
- Procedural memory increase (routines)
- Emotional memory recollection
Why Music Enhances Brain Function
- Music Evokes Emotions- these emotions can trigger memories. Pairing music with every day activities can help individuals remember how to do things.
- Musical aptitude and appreciation- these are two of the last remaining abilities in dementia patients.
- Singing is engaging- Singing can help the elderly feel connected to the world and people around them.
- Music can bring emotional and physical closeness- music allows for people to dance with other people.
- Music can shift a mood- Mood changes can make a person feel more happy, confident and less stressed.
As you can see, there are many benefits of music for individuals with dementia. It is a great way for people to tap in to their past and memories at a time when this becomes very difficult.
Creating a Playlist
Consider making a playlist for your loved one or someone you know who has dementia. You could put the playlist on a CD or an iPad. This playlist should be personalized with songs that remind them of all the good parts of their life. Here are some events/memories you might consider targeting with a playlist.
- High School
- Movie soundtracks
- Wedding songs
- Vacations/Road trips
- Songs from important milestones (births, graduation, new jobs, etc.)
- Favorite songs of people they love
Music is a great and universal way for people to connect. People with dementia can benefit from it in so many ways. Orchard at Brookhaven is dedicated to doing everything we can for our residents. We offer music therapy multiple times a week as well as sing a longs. This is a great time for our residents to enjoy one another and all those memories they have! If you or someone you know would like more information on all we have to offer, contact us today.