We all love music to some extent, and certain songs connect us to memories, good or bad. Music influences our emotions and mental health, which is a big part of why Music Therapy is a fantastic option for seniors with Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Let’s dig deeper into what it can do for your loved ones.
What IS Music Therapy?
Music has been a healing tool since ancient times. Music therapy is a therapeutic approach that naturally boosts your mood and improves your mental health and overall well-being. Music Therapy can involve playing instruments, writing songs, singing, dancing, and listening to music.
What Are the Benefits?
Music Therapy benefits people of all ages and levels of cognitive development but here are benefits for people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s:
- It can reduce anxiety, confusion, and irritation that occurs late in the afternoon or evening, which is called sundowning.
- It can help your loved one relax, have a calmer mood throughout the day, and better sleep at night.
- Music Therapy improves cognitive function and enhances memory recollection.
- It can fulfill social needs in group settings or one-on-one with your loved one.
- Familiar music can help manage stress and boost your loved one’s mood.
What Music Should I Play?
Think about your loved one’s preferences:
What music do they enjoy? Think about their favorite TV shows, musicals, or hymnals. You can involve family and friends by asking them to offer song suggestions or make a playlist of songs. It doesn’t have to be from a specific musician; it can also be a favorite TV show theme song or their favorite hymn if they have a religious background.
Set the mood:
You can calm your loved one during meal time or a morning/evening routine by playing soothing music. Play more upbeat music if you’d like to boost your loved one’s mood. Be sure to pay attention to their response to the music you’re playing. You then learn what music to play more often, never play it again, change it to fit their current mood, or help improve your loved one’s current mood.
Eliminate as much ambient noise as possible and try and reduce potential noise that may occur. Please turn off the TV, shut the door, and set the volume based on their hearing ability. Opt for music that doesn’t include ads to avoid confusion.
Ask them to dance with you or have them clap their hands with you. Encouraging movement can boost their mood and enhance their relationship with you.
Music Therapy Studies
If you’re skeptical, read some of these recent studies done on music therapy and the effects on people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s:
- The Use of Music and Music Therapy in Ameliorating Depression Symptoms and Improving Well-Being in Nursing Home Residents with Dementia (2018)
- Effects of Music Therapy on Patients with Dementia – A Systematic Review (2020)
- Music Therapy and Alzheimer’s disease: Cognitive, psychological, and behavioral effects (2017)
We encourage you to add music to your daily/weekly routine with your loved one, which you can start by playing a favorite song or two during their morning routine. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re unsure where to begin or need help! We are happy to help improve your life and your loved one’s life and overall well-being.