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Music Therapy & Positive Effects for Seniors with Dementia

By Home Care Assistance, 8:00 am on

Does your loved one with dementia have trouble interacting with you and the rest of the world? Does he or she find it difficult to complete simple daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating? According to dementia and Alzheimer’s care specialists, music therapy may be able to help.

What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is the clinical use of music to help a patient reach his or her individual goals, and is a program that is carried out by a credentialed music therapist. A music therapist will work with your loved one to assess current abilities, determine needs and see what types of music and which exercises may be able to help.

Benefits of Music Therapy for Dementia Patients

While music therapy is not a cure for dementia, it’s positive benefits which range from promoting socialization to helping with memory, are making it popular for symptom management among nursing homes, assisted living facilities and home care agencies. Here are some of the most notable benefits of music therapy for seniors and older adults with dementia:

  • Memory Recollection – A favorite song or tune can help a senior remember events or favorite activities of his or her past. A music therapist may use your knowledge about your loved one to find the songs that could trigger positive emotional responses.
  • Enhanced Mood – Rhythmic responses require little mental processing. They speak directly to the motor center of the brain and continue to engage the brain even as the disease progresses into later stages. As a result, an individual who hasn’t seemed to notice anything in days may smile or tap their toes to the beat.
  • Strengthened Family Bonds – One of the great challenges for families is the feeling of disconnected from their loved one. Singing a favorite hymn or ditty can spark recognition and help to reignite the bond between a senior and his or her family.
  • More Motivation – The upbeat tempo of dance music can help motivate a senior with dementia while he or she is going through the motions of daily activities like getting dressed or exercising.
  • Decreased Anxiety – More sedate music can calm a confused or agitated senior with dementia. It can also aid in minimizing the risk for sundowning, a common symptom of dementia that results in increased confusion and restlessness in the evening.

If your provide care for an aging parent or loved one with dementia, you can also play music for them without the help of a professional music therapist. As you try different types of music during different activities, be sure to write down your loved one’s response. This can help you decide which types of music are most beneficial and which may cause more agitation.

To request more information about caring for a senior loved one with dementia, call 778-279-3634 and speak with a friendly Case Manager from Home Care Assistance of Vancouver. We are a trusted Vancouver dementia care provider with highly trained and compassionate dementia caregivers who can provide flexible hourly or live-in care 24/7. We also offer complimentary, no-obligation consultations where you can learn more about us, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.