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How Can Music Therapy Benefit Dementia Patients?

March 19, 2019
Senior Health

Dementia is a hard thing to cope with. It’s a scary when someone you love can’t remember things well, but there are things you can do to help them remember. One way studies have found is effective in benefiting dementia patients is music. Music can help a dementia patient relive a moment in their lives that they may have otherwise forgotten.

A group of seniors enjoying music therapy

How Does it Work?

The process of using music to help recall memories in dementia patients is called music therapy. Music therapy has been proven to produce more of your brain’s “feel good chemicals” like melatonin, serotonin, and prolactin. This is a way to help dementia patients feel like they have their lives back. It’s not quite an alternative to medicine that can help the patient, but it’s an option if you don’t want your loved one taking medication often.

In more scientific detail, the area that processes music in your brain overlaps with the areas that process language and emotions. This is why, when you hear that certain song, memories and emotions just flood back in to your mind. That being said, each person will be affected by different music, and the most effective music for a dementia patient to recall moments with, is music they hold closer to their heart. For instance, someone who loved big bands when they were younger wouldn’t be affected by classical music, and vice versa.

Does Music Help in Every Stage?

Music affects people differently in each stage of dementia. In the early stages, it will be easier for your loved one to recall specific memories and feelings because of music. It’s important to keep encouraging them to be involved in music, so that it could become an area that they feel strong and accomplished in.

In the middle stage of dementia, it can get tricky. Because your loved one is having a harder time remembering things, they could be getting frustrated as they might forget a lyric or song or note. They could also be remembering well still, and that could make them feel very good. Regardless, studies show that, even if they can get frustrated, those who involve themselves with music throughout the stages of dementia show more signs of improved memory, improved social interaction, and even a more relaxed and calm mood overall.

In the late stages of dementia, it can get difficult. Music is related to connecting with a loved one or the past in the later stage, but it also can calm a dementia patient down. They might not be able to remember the exact memory related to the music, but they feel a connection to it, which in turn relaxes them.

Kenwood Care Can Help

If you’re looking for assisted living in Laurel, Maryland, you’ve come to the right place. Kenwood Care helps all of their residence feel like themselves again through music, community, or anything that gets your loved one through the day peacefully. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you and your loved one take on dementia and assisted living.

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