Listening to music is a deeply emotional experience especially for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. It can spark a compelling outcome even in the very late stages of the illness.
Studies show that people with dementia and Alzheimer's can recall memories and emotions, and have enhanced mental performance after singing familiar songs from the past. Music can calm agitation and help to shift the mood to a more positive experience.
Easy Living Services has been working with individuals with dementia and Alzheimer's for over 27 years. We have personally witnessed the powerful effect of music first hand. We have seen people who have the blank and silent look, who have lost the ability to interact and express their needs, light up and come alive once familiar music begins to play. I can recall a client who was in the later stages who was no longer able to communicate and was extremely agitated. This client would scream all day unless her favorite gospel CD was playing. As long as the CD was on she would become calm, the screaming would cease, and she would sing every word of each song even though she was unable to form a sentence without the music.
Listening to music is a deeply emotional experience one that evokes memories and can renew lives lost to dementia. Research has shown that participants who were lead through songs vs those who only listened to music scored higher on cognitive ability. Here are a few reasons why researchers believe that music boosts brain activity and improves the quality of life:
Most people associate music with important events which which open the flood gates of emotions and memories. A person's ability to engage in music remains intact late into the disease process. Musical aptitude and music appreciation remain long after other abilities have passed. Researchers have shown that by pairing music with an every day task, a person can recall the memory and develop a rhythm of doing that task.
Engaging in singing, rhythm playing, dancing, even exercise, can work to diffuse agitation and redirect the attention from frustration to peaceful interaction.
In the later stages of dementia, individuals lose the ability to share thoughts and gestures of affection with family and friends. Singing and dancing can lead to hugs and touching which bring a feeling of security and can awaken positive memories. Singing has been associated with safety and security from the time that we were small children.
If you have a loved one who has a cognitive decline, here are some music therapies you can engage in:
Play music that the person enjoyed in their past.
Put on music and dance at home.
Use sheet music so the individual can sing along.
Use relaxing music to calm sun downers at night and to provide comfort.
Play music to exercise to.
Do activities that are rhythm based such as drumming on the table.
If the person played a musical instrument bring out the instrument for them to play.
If you are finding it difficult to juggle it all - work, family, errands and other demands that often leave you over taxed. Consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care, Easy Living Services. We offer flexible care plans designed to guarantee safety, comfort, and companionship along with personal care assistance to provide a rest time for family caregivers.
Call us at 770-442-8664 visit us at: www.easylivingservices.com