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Posts Tagged “music”

Creating Joy: How Caregivers Can Enhance Alzheimer’s Care Through Art and Music

Senior CaregiversHave 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:

Art:

  • 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.

Music:

  • 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.

Posted in Alzheimer's Care, Blog, Caregiving on August 9th, 2016 · Comments Off on Creating Joy: How Caregivers Can Enhance Alzheimer’s Care Through Art and Music

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.

Posted in Alzheimer's Care, Blog on March 4th, 2015 · Comments Off on Music and Alzheimer’s: A Miraculous Transformation