My mom could play just about any instrument she laid her hands on, and she had a beautiful singing voice. She majored in music in college. So music was very important to her.
When she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, we thought that part of her life was over. Until we hired a music therapist. The therapist would sing with her (I was amazed that Mom could remember the words to so many old songs!). Mom sometimes even played the piano. The music therapist also brought her a small drum she could set on a table and play. She loved that drum.
Music is one of the things that resonates with most people. So even if your loved one who has dementia didn’t major in music as my mom did, he or she may benefit from music therapy.
Music therapy for people with Alzheimer’s has been known to:
- Improve mood. Upbeat music has a mood-enhancing effect on people with Alzheimer’s, just as it does on those who don’t have dementia.
- Decrease agitation. Music can soothe people with Alzheimer’s who are agitated or combative, which can also benefit you as a caregiver.
- Improve memory. Music can help the brain organize information, which can improve both memory and cognitive ability.
- Manage pain. Music is a proven non-pharmaceudical pain reliever.
- Enhance social life. Music can allow people with Alzheimer’s to better participate in social situations by singing along, dancing, or playing an instument. Some people even begin talking again because music can bring back memories.
Whether your loved one is partial to Kansas City jazz, rock, pop, or country, a good music therapist can use music to help boost brain activity and improve quality of life.