Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Why Is Music So Helpful To Dementia Sufferers?


Why Is Music So Helpful To Dementia Sufferers?

A lot of people working with dementia patients, or supporting a family member with dementia, have found that music can be profoundly helpful for the wellbeing of dementia sufferers.

Music is helpful not only for helping to lift the mood of people with dementia, but it can also be used to help them to feel more connected to other people, even when they aren’t able to communicate as easily as they once did. It can also be an effective way of creating a routine.

Musical memory is often unaffected by the Alzheimer’s

Research suggests that the areas of the brain that are linked to musical memory are often relatively unaffected by Alzheimer’s, which is the leading cause of dementia. 

This means that while Alzheimer’s patients may not be able to access memories relating to certain areas of their life, they can still remember music that they have heard in the past. 

This means that music can act as a kind of anchor for Alzheimer’s patients, helping them to feel a sense of connection to a world that has become confusing and scary for them. If the music is associated with happy memories, it may also mean that playing music can help them to feel that happiness again.

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Music creates a sense of connection

Several studies have shown that music can help to create a sense of connection. Listening to a song together, and especially singing along, has been shown to directly impact neuro-chemicals in the brain, which play an important role in closeness and connection.

An Austin senior living memory care community makes the most of this effect by regularly hosting live or video concerts for their residents. The residents not only enjoy the concerts, but they help them to feel connected to one another and as though they are part of a community. 

This feeling of being a member of a community is vital for patients with dementia, as it not only slows cognitive decline, but it gives them a sense of wellbeing and purpose.

Music helps reduce anxiety and depression

Have you ever felt rubbish, and then immediately felt a lot better for listening to your favorite song? That’s often because your favorite song recalls happy memories for you, which will help you to feel better.

More than this, there is some evidence to suggest that music can actually help to treat anxiety and depression. In a multitude of clinical settings treating both children and adults, music therapy has been shown to be highly effective in treating pain, mood, or anxious and depressive symptoms. Anxiety and depression are common in patients with dementia, so the use of music therapy can be effective in helping to alleviate this.

Music can be used to create routine

If a dementia sufferer becomes more calm when they hear a specific song, or they become more invigorated on hearing another, then this can be used as a way to anchor them in a routine.

For example, if you would like them to go to sleep soon because it is night time, you could play songs that you know have a calming effect on them. This would then help them to sleep, and ultimately help them to stick to a routine, which is an important part of overall wellbeing.

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