What Does Music Therapy Do For Alzheimer’s Patients?
Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that affects one in 68 Americans each year, wreaking havoc on patients and their loved ones alike. Recent research has demonstrated that music therapy can help alleviate memory loss and confusion caused by Alzheimer’s, improving quality of life for those affected by it.
Music therapy is a non-invasive and successful form of therapeutic treatment that involves playing or listening to musical instruments or songs tailored specifically for an individual based on their preferences and history. It has the potential to address mental health issues like depression and anxiety as well as physical ailments and behavioral problems.
Music therapy offers numerous advantages, such as reduced agitation and aggression, increased social interaction, improved communication, and improved cognitive functioning for those with dementia. Not only does it address mental and emotional concerns, but music therapy may also raise levels of natural hormones like testosterone and estrogen which have been known to slow down brain cell degeneration.
When music is played for a patient, it often triggers positive memories and emotions. This is especially true of songs from their youth or early adulthood that may trigger memories or even grief over the loss of someone close to them.
People living with Alzheimer’s often encounter music they’ve heard many times before, which can elicit strong feelings and memories. Some may even have strong aversions to certain types of music, so it is essential for caregivers to play a variety of songs to find the one that best matches their individual style.
Finding the right song can be a difficult challenge, but it is essential to realize that the type of music you select has an enormous effect on their emotional responses. For instance, faster tempos and percussion might encourage patients to move while slower songs may provide comforting comfort.
The therapist can assist the person in recognizing which songs will bring back positive memories and which might trigger distressing ones. They might ask the patient which songs are most memorable from their youth or consult others who knew them in the past for assistance.
They might even use the patient’s own voice to recite lyrics or sing a familiar melody, bringing back fond and happy memories for them – another major benefit of music therapy for those suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Finding the ideal song can be tricky, but it can be done by talking to the patient and reading their facial expressions. Additionally, having different songs available helps therapists switch up tunes or play something new that they know will lift the patient’s spirits.
In 2014, Alive Inside demonstrated the therapeutic power of music for Alzheimer’s patients and how it can help alleviate some suffering and pain. This film won the Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival and raised awareness regarding music therapy’s positive effects on those suffering from Alzheimer’s.