Can music help with Dementia?

“We've found compelling evidence that musical interventions can play a health care role in settings ranging from operating rooms to family clinics. But even more importantly, we were able to document the neurochemical mechanisms by which music has an effect in four domains: management of mood, stress, immunity and as an aid to social bonding." Dr. Daniel Levitin

 

They say that music soothes the savage beast. I’m not sure about beasts but it does help people. I love music and most people do. Music can remind you of events in life and the emotions associated with those events. When we hear music, it works in the brain to engage cognitive and emotional regions. Music is deeply personal and has been imbedded in us our whole lives. Music is so connected to emotions it can be used to help those with dementia. Dealing with dementia, Parkinson’s, or even a stroke can be difficult. Using music can help your loved one be more comfortable and cooperative. When a loved one is confused, they may be resistant to help or instructions. When a loved one acts out remember it is part of the illness. You must be patient and sometimes try a different approach. Playing music in the background can help. The music will usually have a calming effect on someone with dementia. Music has been shown to help with anxiety and lower cortisol levels. All we really want to do is help or loved ones be comfortable. Try to be more specific by using different songs for different activities. By singing or playing songs can help your loved one to know what to do. Make the song part of your routine. It may start slowly but working music and songs into your daily routine can really improve the abilities of your loved one.  The brain is still a big mystery but there are things that have been observed by scientists and every day caregivers. Music helps a loved one with dementia remain calmer without any drugs. Music reaches deep into parts of the brain and can have a profound effect on people afflicted with neurological issues. When someone with Parkinson’s starts to lock up or freeze, sing a song or hum a rhythm and this can help them to move. Your loved one can still connect to a beat and it can help tremendously. Music is also good for calming and soothing someone who has to sit in silence especially if their eyesight has diminished. Put on some gentle music like oldies, classical guitar, or light classical music to help them relax. Sometimes the music can also help stop sensory overload that afflicts people with dementia. So, try this with your loved one put on some music or sing a song with them it can be a good bonding time or just a relaxing activity for your loved one.