Oct 7, 2016 by Lulu Jensen
Many seniors who have enjoyed music throughout their lives can greatly benefit from music therapy, even when their cognitive abilities start to decline and their memory begins to fade. Dementia care providers in Anchorage, AK, therefore, use music as a means of improving both the symptoms and the quality of life of those seniors affected by the progressive condition.
As people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease go through various mental and behavioral changes, which worsen their condition to the point that they can’t tell what’s real and what’s imaginary anymore, that their communication skills significantly deteriorate, and that they rapidly lose memories, it can become increasingly difficult to get through to them.
Although the disease is, unfortunately, both irreversible and incurable, dementia care professionals in can help your loved one feel better and continue enjoying some of life’s small pleasures, including music.
While some would argue that music is one of life’s greatest pleasures, music therapy is not beneficial just because of its soothing effect on the listener. It can also bring back long-forgotten memories into the mind, allowing Alzheimer’s patients to remember images and emotions they no longer knew they had.
As dementia care experts point out, music is especially important because it can evoke strong feelings even in seniors who are in the final stages of the disease – they may not be able to remember why a particular song makes them feel happy but they will still feel happiness.
In some cases, emotionally responding to a song can be more important that actually trying to understand where that response is coming from. For instance, your parent may not know where they first heard a song they like or they may not understand the lyrics now, but they know that it was somehow important to them. In addition to being happy because that is the feeling the song has triggered, your loved one can also be joyous because they might have remembered something significant on an unconscious level.
Dementia care providers use music therapy to calm down and comfort seniors affected by the disease too. Research has shown that music can improve moods and provide stress and tension relief, as well as alleviate the symptoms of depression. Music can have the same effect on people with Alzheimer’s.
If possible, home care experts also recommend that Alzheimer’s patients take an active part in music therapy, which means that they are encouraged to sing along, dance to the music or clap their hands. This can help them experience stronger emotions and connect to those people around them, even when they cannot recognize family members and close friends.