For people with dementia, the progression of the disease can make it challenging to communicate their thoughts and feelings with others. Behavioral changes and language impairments due to cognitive decline can lead older adults with Alzheimer’s to isolate themselves from their caregivers and loved ones. Fortunately, music can help dementia sufferers with developing and maintaining meaningful relationships with their friends and family.
According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, music has a positive effect on those with Alzheimer’s disease because rhythmic responses require minimal mental processing or cognitive skills. It can change the way a senior with memory difficulties acts and feels. Caregivers at the Ganzhorn Suites, family, and friends can easily use music therapy as a way to connect with someone especially in the mid to later stages of the disease.
Benefits of Music Therapy
Music therapy stimulates and engages different parts of the brain. For example, singing activates the left side of the brain while listening to music engages the right side. Watching a musician or music therapist perform triggers visual components of the brain. Music therapy also supports the emotional health of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease. Music often stirs strong emotions which can prompt reminiscing and memory recall. Listening to music may also boost levels of the hormone melatonin. Proper levels of melatonin can alleviate feelings of depression, reduce aggression, regulate mood swings and aid in sleep.
Forms of Music Therapy
Listening to music is not the only form of music therapy. Music therapy can be implemented into a senior’s life through dancing, playing musical instruments, or attending a live performance. Discussing song lyrics, exercising to music as well as drawing or story writing while listening to music are also forms of music therapy. Regardless of the way an Alzheimer’s patient participates, music therapy has the power to enhance cognition, decrease feelings of loneliness and depression and improve their overall quality of life.
For more information on how we use music therapy to enhance the lives of our residents at The Ganzhorn Suites, contact our Community Relations Director at 614-398-9333 or via email at CRD.Powell@ganzhorn.com.