Wit and Wisdom Blog for Atria Senior Living

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Music and Alzheimer’s


Posted on October 6, 2013 by Atria Senior Living


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Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects memory, thoughts and behavior. It is a form of dementia that progressively gets worse. There is currently no cure for the disease; however, treatments are available to deal with the symptoms. According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, music has been known to be effective in helping individuals with the disease.

The power of music can be fascinating. Many senior living communities and other establishments for the elderly are beginning to recognize that music is effective for residents with Alzheimer’s. Music is connected to hearing, and hearing is controlled by the brain; therefore, listening to music stimulates cognitive function in the brain.

In addition, experts say that music decreases irritability, so those affected are less likely to experience aggressive eruptions and outbursts. Even when individuals with the disease are unable to recognize those they love, music can be a calm and relaxing influence for both the person and caregiver.

People who have been treated for Alzheimer’s that listen to music are more connected and cooperative. Music makes them come alive. Music can change a mood and encourage interaction.

Music can be connected to important events and various emotions in a person’s life. Hearing a specific song could evoke memories of something that took place in the patient’s life. One patient might be reminded of the loss of a loved one, and another patient might remember a happy time in his life. Caregivers need to evaluate the patient’s reaction to a particular song to see if it causes anguish or if it causes peace.

As the disease becomes more advanced, some Alzheimer’s patients lose the capability to communicate and share thoughts. They can also become less affectionate with loved ones. Music can sometimes induce hugs, embraces and even kisses.

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, dancing or playing an instrument has been known to be effective. Caregivers should play types of music that the patient enjoyed in the past. As the disease progresses, patients should be encouraged to sing along with their favorite songs. As the disease becomes advanced, calming songs could be helpful. Exercising to music could also be successful.

Most people have someone they love who is affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Music is recognized by caregivers and healthcare providers around the world as a powerful tool to help patients cope with Alzheimer’s disease.


Category: Dementia & Memory Care

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