Have you ever heard a song for the first time in years, and it instantly took you right back to the last place you were when you heard it? Or opened up a new box of crayons for a young child, took a whiff of that distinctive waxy fragrance and felt instantly transported back to your own childhood?
The longstanding impact of both music and art on our memories and senses is incredible, and that impact isn’t lost on those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, either. Perhaps you’ve seen one of the many videos that have gone viral, such as this one, in which a miraculous transformation occurs when those with Alzheimer’s listen to old, familiar tunes. Or you may be familiar with the Alzheimer’s Association’s “Memories in the Making” program, in which those with dementia can use art as their voice in sharing thoughts and emotions.
At Nightingale Homecare, our Arizona caregivers have the opportunity to experience firsthand the joy and peace that seniors with Alzheimer’s disease display when given the opportunity to engage in art and music activities, and offer the following ideas to help you implement some creative projects for your senior loved ones:
- Help the person get started with an art project, but then step back and allow the work to progress in the individual’s own way and timeframe.
- Stick to adult-level projects, so as to never convey to the person a demeaning or condescending tone.
- Prompt conversation around the art as you’re working, allowing the person to reminisce or share any details about colors selected, the story behind the artwork being created, etc.
- Select a specific genre of music that the person enjoys, and particular songs, if possible.
- Encourage participation through movement, clapping, tapping, singing, etc.
- Choose music pieces that suit the particular mood you’re hoping to invoke, such as quiet, soothing music to calm the person, or cheerful, upbeat music to boost energy and enthusiasm.
It’s important while engaging a senior with dementia in art or music projects to remain mindful of the person’s enjoyment level in a particular activity. If he or she becomes frustrated or agitated, shift gears to a different activity or rest period.
If you’d like assistance from our experienced and fully trained Phoenix area caregivers in implementing music or art activities for your senior loved one, call on Nightingale Homecare. Through our specialized Connections dementia program, our caregivers, who are certified as Alzheimer’s Whisperers®, offer an exceptionally gentle and therapeutic level of care that provides seniors with an unparalleled level of comfort and understanding, and gives their family members enhanced peace of mind.
Contact us at 602-504-1555 any time to learn more or to get started with our professional, creative in-home care for seniors.