Does Music Help Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care?
No matter what stage of life you’re in, music can bring joy to your life. This is especially true for the older generation of seniors. However, many caregivers and family members of these patients often wonder, does music help Alzheimer’s and dementia care? The short answer is yes. Research shows that music provides therapeutic benefits for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia types. We’re going to dive into the benefits of music for your loved one and how you can incorporate it into your care.
When you hear one of your favorite songs on the radio, it probably brings back fond memories of the people and circumstances surrounding the music. The same goes for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and forms of dementia. The portion of the brain that holds musical memories, or the memories in response to music, is generally undamaged by Alzheimer’s and dementia. As a result, these musical memories can bring feelings of happiness and joy for Alzheimer’s or dementia patients and their loved ones. These feelings and responses to music make it very therapeutic for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
Music doesn’t just have cognitive benefits for loved ones suffering from these diseases. In addition, there are several emotional benefits that music can have on your senior with Alzheimer’s or dementia. These benefits can help in your loved one’s daily care.
Reduce Anxiety & Depression
Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may also struggle with depression, anxiety, and agitation. However, research shows that music can increase the melatonin, serotonin, and prolactin hormones, contributing to a better mood and positive emotions. Therefore, caregivers should make music a part of the daily care and routine for your loved one with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Find out what type of music your senior loved one truly loves and resonates with. You can also check with other family members on influential music they experienced with your loved one. This could help evoke positive memories and overall positive thoughts. If your loved one is feeling up to it, encourage movement or singing along to the music. Some studies show that singing to music can help stimulate even more specific memories. Reducing anxiety, depression, and agitation can also help relieve the overall stress of this disease.
Without a doubt, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are very stressful on the patient, caregivers, and loved ones. If your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia also has feelings of apathy, depression, and agitation, it can be hard to maintain an uplifting environment. Research shows that music can relieve stress. Music can help ease stress for both the senior and the caregivers. When there’s less stress in an environment, it might be just what is necessary for increased connection with your loved one.
Music also lightens the mood for everyone around. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can be an overwhelming and sad time for each person involved, so it’s important to keep the spirit light and positive whenever possible. To help encourage a positive mood, caregivers can use calm or soothing music during mealtimes and upbeat or fast music when everyone needs an extra boost. Watch how your senior loved one responds to the music and adjust the type if needed.
As Alzheimer’s disease and dementia progress, the connection gets more complicated as communication becomes more challenging. All of the benefits we listed for music and Alzheimer’s and dementia care can help encourage deeper connection. Those musical memories not only can help the patient, but they can also lead to deeper relationships with the caregiver. Caregivers and family members can use music and those musical memories to intentionally connect with their loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Even in the later stages, music can still be a great tool to communicate with your senior loved one, especially the music that may hold experiential memories for them.
Overall, when your senior loved one and the caregiver have lower stress and improved mood, it lays an excellent foundation for a more fulfilling connection. When someone is experiencing memory loss, every bond you can make with them is treasured. Music can help you make new memories as a family with your senior loved one that you will hold on to for many years.
If you’ve been caring for your loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, an in-home caregiver may be the next step for your loved one’s care. Caregivers United specializes in Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and we understand the specific challenges that these patients and loved ones face. We are committed to providing them safe and comfortable care for their well-being, so can you focus on connection and time with your loved one. Contact us today for a free courtesy visit and find Caregivers United on Facebook and Twitter.