Music has a way of transporting us. A few notes from a song can instantly remove us from the present and take us back to a place we had considered forgotten. Music has the power to evoke the entire spectrum of emotions, seemingly from out of nowhere: one song can brighten a mood, soothe the soul, or spark creativity. For individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, that same power holds true and using music as part of an Alzheimer’s care regimen offers profound and promising results.
While Alzheimer’s works by progressively erasing short- and long-term memories; music is stored actively across the brain and is largely unaffected by the disease. Because of this, musical “memories” can be brought to the surface with amazing results in individuals undergoing Alzheimer’s or dementia care. There are cases where persons with Alzheimer’s are unresponsive one minute, then seemingly come back to life when music from their past is played. Some patients who barely talk are miraculously able to sing every word to favorite songs from decades ago. In other cases, patients were encouraged to participate in often-resisted activities like baths or tooth-brushing by singing a ditty about hygiene. For others receiving Alzheimer’s care, music has been seen to reduce violent behavior far better than sedatives or restraints, and has facilitated in soothing patients while administering painful procedures like drawing blood.
Music therapy is also an incredible way for individuals with Alzheimer’s to connect with loved ones. If you are visiting a person with Alzheimer’s, try making a playlist of favorite songs from their past to play while you’re there. The key is to choose songs that aren’t connected to any sad events such as a pet that died or a friend that moved away. Keep the mood positive and light. Another encouraging aspect of music therapy in Alzheimer’s care is that it provides patients with a newfound way to express themselves. This sensory stimulation has the remarkable capacity to slow the decline of physical, psychological, and cognitive processes.
As more research emerges, the case for music therapy becomes stronger and clearer. At Nightingale, we believe strongly in the power of music as part of comprehensive and engaging Alzheimer’s care that is based on deep understanding and empathy. We also provide supportive, flexible, expert in-home nursing care by trained caregivers to a wide array of clients living off-residence. Call (602) 504-1555 or contact us online to find out more about our affordable, attentive, and respected elderly homecare in Phoenix and across the Valley.