The Important Role Music Plays in Dementia Therapy


The Important Role Music Plays in Dementia Therapy

Families frequently ask me, as a Dementia Specialist and Senior Living Adviser, what Alzheimer's disease or dementia therapies are available in memory care communities in Northern Virginia. Memory care incorporates a variety of therapies, including painting, word games, and even pets, to stimulate brain activity and create a comfortable, calming environment to help delay cognitive decline in its residents.

Music therapy is another excellent treatment for progressive cognitive diseases, like Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Music is an effective instrument for influencing cognitive responses and activating associative memory. Most of us are instantly transported to a time decades ago when we hear an old song, and the memories associated with that song just come flooding in. In a recent study, researchers revealed that playing the right music can help reconnect late-stage Alzheimer's and dementia patients with the "real" world.

Further, the Alzheimer's Society recognizes and encourages music therapy through its successful Music Project, which offers MP3 players filled with customized music to people living with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. The program takes advantage of music's ability to aid memory, stimulate physical and social activity, promote sleep, elevate mood, and improve the individual's overall health. The program takes advantage of music's ability to aid memory, stimulate physical and social activity, promote sleep, elevate mood, and improve the individual's overall health.

How Music is a Powerful Dementia Therapy Tool

Due to how our brains store memories, music therapy is particularly effective in treating Alzheimer's disease and dementia. According to research, the portion of the brain responsible for music recall is essentially unchanged by the early stages of Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

Whether as part of therapy or for enjoyment, music helps improve the emotional and behavioral well-being of memory care residents, making every day a better one.

How Music is Used as Therapy in Memory Care Communities

Living with the difficulties associated with Alzheimer's disease or dementia can cause great mental and emotional strain. This is largely due to the fact that people with Alzheimer's disease or dementia frequently find it challenging to clearly articulate their basic wants and needs, which can lead to deep feelings of depression, loneliness, and frustration, but music therapy is widely recognized as an effective way to enhance communication and social engagement.

Here are a few ways that memory care residents benefit from music:

  • Music can be used as a redirection tool to set moods, relieve agitation, and focus one's attention.
  • Hearing music from one's past can help recover lost memories and restore one's self-identity.
  • Singing along with a favorite song has many proven advantages, including facilitating conversation, exercising impaired cognitive skills, and supporting communication structure.

The Benefits of Music Therapy for People with Alzheimer's Disease or Dementia

Memory care staff are trained to use music to establish a link between the residents and the outside world. There are numerous benefits to music therapy, such as:

  • Improved memory
  • A renewed sense of personal control
  • Increased mental acuity and recall
  • Positive changes in attitude and behavior
  • Enhanced socialization, communication, and engagement
  • Increased physical rehabilitation through continuous, rhythmic movement (hand clapping, dancing, etc.)
  • More harmonious emotional states

Music is often used to build the physical, mental, and emotional function levels of older adults. Likewise, music therapy can significantly improve the quality of life of people with Alzheimer's disease or dementia through consistent, holistic applications.

Stay Involved in Your Loved One's Music Therapy

Families of memory care residents are encouraged to participate in their loved one's care plan, which is one of the best features of memory care. Families can also assist in the development of a music therapy plan for their loved one by providing memory care staff with a personalized playlist to increase the effectiveness of the therapy.

To create your playlist, seek out songs that were popular when your loved one was a young adult, typically between the ages of 18 and 25. It is also a good idea to add songs connected to special occasions and happy memories. Other family members and friends may know a few ideal songs that you are unaware of, so don't be afraid to ask for their input.

The professionals in memory care will use the music on your playlist to create an atmosphere appropriate for specific activities your loved one is involved in. Listening to energetic music while getting dressed or taking a shower will help keep them attentive and engaged. In the hours leading up to sleep, music with a slower tempo could be played to help them relax. The staff will generally keep track of the types of music your loved one prefers and play those selections more frequently.

The staff at memory care communities also encourages frequent visits from families. During your visit, you can take part in music therapy by singing and clapping along with your loved one. You can rest assured that your loved one values the time you spend with them, and they recognize how you and the memory care staff contribute to their quality of life, even if they can't fully verbalize it.

Finding Senior Living Care in Northern Virginia

Memory care communities are fantastic places for seniors living with Alzheimer's disease or dementia because the staff will provide the proper care and support that those individuals need in order to live happy and fulfilling lives. When looking for the right community for your loved one in Northern Virginia, contact Alisha Jones of Assisted Living Locators.

Many families just like yours have trusted Alisha to assist them with locating the best senior living community for their elderly loved ones. She will make sure you have all you need to choose a place where your loved one will be happy and well cared for during their golden years.

For more information or no-cost assistance with independent living, assisted living, memory care, in-home care, or other senior living options in Northern Virginia’s Prince William County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Arlington County, or Alexandria, please call our local elder care experts today at (703) 878-7870 or contact us via e-mail.