We can all agree that music is the universal language, where we can communicate and remember memories. In fact, it is more valuable than we ever think. Who would have thought that music can be used for therapy? For seniors who experience dementia, and are living in dementia assisted living facilities like Oakleigh of Macomb, music can be helpful in many different ways.
Let us no better understand what exactly dementia is. It is an umbrella term for a mental disorder that causes loss of memories and the impaired ability to think, remember, or make decisions that bother everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease is a common type of dementia that primarily affects older adults or seniors; it is not part of normal aging. However, singing or listening to music can positively impact a person with dementia.
With that being said, let’s take a closer look at how music therapy helps seniors with dementia.
Boost Emotional and Behavioral Condition
According to recent research, singing, listening, or playing music can uplift emotional and behavioral conditions for senior citizens with Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of dementia. As we listen to music, we reminisce about certain memories from the past. Thus, bringing back emotions. In relation to that, music helps to provide a link to a person’s past, hence unlocking the person’s memories from the distant past.
Also, music therapy helps patients with dementia reconnect with their loved ones, restore relationships, and express emotions that other forms of communication cannot; even when these patients cannot speak or reply to other people’s questions anymore.
Elevates Feel-Good Brain Chemicals
Besides helping seniors remember their memories, music therapy can increase secretion levels of feel-good brain chemicals such as melatonin, serotonin, norepinephrine, and prolactin in patients with dementia. The results may vary for each patient. However, studies show that music can significantly reduce stress and anxiety. It also can boost mood and helps lighten your bad day.
How is this even possible? It is true that even though this disease progresses and the individual who has dementia’s cognitive function declines, the human brain is still naturally responding to music. And the good thing is that it lasts long even after the music stops playing.
People with dementia can use music to promote a particular mood or mindset. For example, fast music may promote movements, while slow music can have a soothing effect. In relationships with seniors who experience dementia, the right background music can guide behaviors and responses.
Playing unfamiliar music plays an integral role in music therapy. Also, you can use these new songs to develop beneficial responses, such as enhancing sleep and improving the stress management of an individual having dementia.
Excellent Communication Tool
When it comes to individuals who experience advanced dementia, they become frustrated or overwhelmed by the inability to communicate. Fortunately, music continues to be a helpful tool to express their feelings inside. Playing gentle or soft music can help calm tension and refocus negative behavior into positive activity.
Even in the advanced stages of dementia, when all other human interactions have failed, older adults can still connect with music. Meanwhile, listening to music together promotes meaningful opportunities for caregivers and patients alike living in dementia assisted living facilities. Singing, playing, and listening to music have a variety of physical, mental, and emotional advantages.
Music can be incorporated into your loved one’s life in a variety of significant ways, depending on the stage of illness. Suppose you would like to use music to really help your loved ones or especially an individual, a senior who has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. In that case, you may consider thinking about your loved one’s music preferences they enjoy.
Also, consider which artist they are listening to. As a caregiver, you may ask his or her family members or the closest friend to suggest songs or playlists. Through the help of music, you can help them to reconnect with their family, relatives, and friends.
Promotes Tranquility and Sets the Mood
When setting the mood of a senior with dementia, you can calm them during the morning while exercising by playing energizing music. In the daytime, you can also play some soothing songs or slow songs. But when you would like to elevate the patient’s mood, you may use or play music with an upbeat or fast tempo. Consider turning off the television or closing the door to avoid overstimulation. By eliminating noises, they can focus on the song itself.
Dancing can also make a significant impact on this therapy. Help your loved one to clap along or move his or her feet and body to the beat. This may also improve his or her mental balance. Moreover, singing along with your loved one can also boost the mood, hence enhancing your relationship. Some preliminary research also suggests that musical memory works differently than other types of memory and that singing can help stimulate unique memories. Keep in mind to pay attention to your loved one’s reaction while playing or singing a song.
If you see your loved one enjoying the songs you’re playing or particular music you played, play them more often. But if your loved one seems to react to a specific piece you played negatively, then choose something else. Remember that music may positively or adversely affect your loved one’s cognitive status or wellbeing. More research and analysis are necessary to verify the real benefits of music on a specific person.
Suppose a senior citizen loses their capability to communicate. In that case, music can help them express their emotion and connect with their loved ones. Some may experience agitations, but listening to soothing songs can alleviate their feeling of irritation and anxiety.
Unlock and reminisce about memories through music. By playing music that’s close to their hearts, they may remember special moments in their life. With help from a music therapist they can conduct observations and analysis based on how your loved one reacts to specific music. This way, we will know how to connect with them. After the analysis, think about their taste and preference in music. Allow them to enjoy the songs they want, get along with them, and help them improve the quality of their life.