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Music and Alzheimer’s: A Miraculous Transformation

Alzheimer's careMusic…it can soothe a fussy baby, bring even the most shy wallflower onto the dance floor, ignite feelings of love, grief, anger, betrayal, joy, and everything in between. And we’ve all experienced the jolt a familiar old song can bring as it instantly evokes memories of a previously-forgotten past.

It’s not surprising that music is now being acclaimed as a tool to connect with those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. From calming agitated feelings and behaviors, to allowing for cooperation and participation in activities, and perhaps even restoring lost memories – the power of music is only beginning to be tapped, with exciting results.

Music is stored differently in the brain than short-term memories, which are located only in the hippocampus. Since music’s imprint is spread throughout the brain, it’s possible for it to be accessible by those with Alzheimer’s, even those who are unable to recall short-term memories. According to Dr. Verna Benner Carson, creator of the Alzheimer’s Whisperer® program, “Even when they have lost the ability to speak, many can still sing!”

A popular YouTube video on the effects of music and Alzheimer’s disease documents one man’s incredible reaction to hearing music from his era: from mute and unresponsive behaviors to instantly alert and conversational, even singing word for word his favorite remembered tunes, the powerful effect of music is astounding.

Dr. Carson recommends that music, with its ability to not only bring joy to those with Alzheimer’s, but to allow for meaningful interaction with loved ones and caregivers, be a routine part of care. Ideas for incorporating music into the daily routine include singing while assisting with activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing, and implementing as a tool for distraction and comfort during procedures that may be distressing or agitating, like dressing a wound or drawing blood.

Nightingale Homecare of Phoenix, AZ is proud to be certified as an Alzheimer’s Whisperer®, a program recognized by the American Psychiatric Nurses Association as a best practice in dementia care. Our specially trained caregivers use a compassionate, flexible approach to difficult behaviors in Alzheimer’s, such as:

  • Wandering
  • Repetition
  • Uncooperative behavior
  • Agitation
  • Sundowning
  • Depression
  • Safety issues
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • And more

Providing in-home care services in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, and Maricopa County, AZ for over 20 years, owned and operated by registered nurses, certified by Medicare and licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services, we know how overwhelming caring for a loved one with dementia can be. Allow us to share the journey with you and relieve some of the stress and pressure from your family by assisting your loved one with meals, housekeeping, and personal care, or with skilled nursing services such as infusions, ventilator management, oxygen therapy, wound care, blood draws, and more. Contact us online or call us at 602-504-1555 to take the first step towards improving the quality of life for your loved one.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 at 8:34 am.