Choosing Music to Play for Your Loved One With Alzheimer’s

Choosing Music to Play for Your Loved One With Alzheimer’s

Music can be an incredibly beneficial therapeutic tool for individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, helping them maintain a positive attitude, recall happy memories, improve physical health and moods. Furthermore, it allows patients to engage meaningfully with family members and friends even after they are no longer able to speak verbally.

If you’re using music therapy with your loved one, ensure they select music that is familiar and enjoyable. It could be a lullaby from childhood, an upbeat song from their favorite musical, or a slow-paced ballad that brings back happy memories of earlier in life.

Be mindful of your audience’s reaction and listen for any changes in body language as you play different songs. They may sway, laugh or clap their hands along with the rhythm. If they appear tense, consider changing up the music; overstimulating them could cause them to lose balance and fall, potentially leading to serious injury.

Listening to music can also improve a patient’s mood and stimulate the production of hormones that promote restful sleep. This is particularly beneficial for those who have trouble falling asleep at night or difficulty unwinding during the day.

Starting music therapy can be a wonderful way to bond with your special someone. Create a playlist of their favorite songs that can be played throughout the day and during specific activities like bathing or leisure time. For extra special moments, create an exclusive playlist just for them featuring songs from their childhood.

According to research by Daniel Scott of the University of Kansas, familiar music can be more effective than unfamiliar pieces in relaxing patients. This is because the brain’s auditory cortex works with emotions, and listening to music that elicits those feelings can help people decompress.

At the early stages of Alzheimer’s, people with dementia might benefit from listening to music that brings back happy memories, such as a wedding song. Singing along with the music can not only trigger memories but also provide social interaction between patients and those they are with.

According to Dr Norman Foster of the Center for Alzheimer’s Care and Imaging Research at the University of Utah, a recent study published in The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease by his team has demonstrated that personally meaningful music can open pathways to parts of the brain that would otherwise remain inaccessible for those living with dementia. This finding could potentially improve memory and other cognitive functions among individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Another study, which involved 21 men with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, revealed that music therapists helped participants improve communication skills. They were able to discuss more about their lives and interests more openly while singing more clearly.

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