Music Therapy for Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is a neurological disease that impacts the brain, and music therapy has been known to provide comfort for those affected by it. Studies have demonstrated that music can have a beneficial effect on people living with dementia in various ways – from decreasing agitation to improving communication.
Listening to your favorite song stimulates different areas of the brain, such as auditory cortex, cerebrum and cerebellum. This chemical response is what makes music therapy effective for those suffering from dementia.
Music therapy involves playing songs to their patients in various ways. They may sing, dance to the music, or use other instruments. All of these activities aim to enhance an individual’s social, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
A music therapist assesses each client’s individual needs and creates goals, objectives, and therapeutic treatment. Through their guidance and instruction, clients gain more social, emotional, and physical skills to communicate more effectively.
According to a recent study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, music therapy for Alzheimer’s patients can offer numerous advantages at various stages of the illness. Not only does it improve focus and reduce need for psychiatric medication, but it also makes them feel more at home in their environment.
At the start of an illness, music therapy can facilitate communication and strengthen relationships between patients and their caregivers. The calming effects of music may also be helpful during anxiety-provoking behaviors like walking without assistance or getting dressed.
If a person with Alzheimer’s has difficulty recalling words, singing an iconic song can help them reconnect to what was said. According to Northwestern Medicine neurologist Borna Bonakdarpour MD – who also enjoys performing music as part of her research activities – singing can even relax patients while they’re in the hospital.
The therapists in the program collaborate with participants to craft a tailored musical experience tailored to their individual needs and capabilities. This could be used as part of regular therapy sessions or daily activities the patient can do together.
They can select music that brings back fond memories, such as an old jazz standard or a popular tune from their youth. Alternatively, they could opt for classical music or something more contemporary.
Music therapy can be a wonderful tool for those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, providing them with comfort and joy. Whether playing your favorite songs to them or creating playlists specifically tailored to them, music can bring people together in ways words cannot express.
Music has a particularly profound effect on those suffering from Alzheimer’s, as each part of the brain responds to it differently. Not only does music stimulate cerebral and cerebellar areas, but it also activates limbic memory pathways.