Forgetfulness is mostly associated with old age, but there’s one disease primarily targeting senior citizens above the age of 65. Commonly known as the old timer’s disease, Dementia causes changes in the brain – resulting in mild memory loss. At its later stages, patients may not be able to communicate with others or recognize the things happening around them.
Unfortunately, Dementia has no known cure, but research suggests that early detection and music therapy may offer hope to patients. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, women have more chances of being diagnosed with the disease.
If you have a loved one living with Dementia, music might help you connect better with them in ways the reality of everyday forgetfulness cannot.
Since the illness has no cure at this time, the focus should be emphasized on ways to improve a loved one’s quality of life and overall health. Music for Dementia offers numerous benefits in erratic stages of the disease. It enhances focus and their ability to connect with the patients’ loved ones as well as lower the over-dependence on drugs.
How Music Helps
With such patients, music offers solace and a host of other benefits at varying stages of the illness. This is especially seen when the disease advances, and patients entirely disconnect and are unable to hold a conversation with their loved ones.
When you play the music that a loved one once loved listening to, you can see a change in behavior. The patient may stir up and recognize the new vibe in their surroundings. The patient might sing, clap their hands, or dance to the tune. Responses to the rhythm process in the brain cause an immediate reaction and order the body to move to the music.
Studies Indicate Signs of Responsiveness to Music
Researchers at the Davis Campus- California University discovered an area of the brain stimulated by music. At the same time, other senses begin to work due to brain stimulation, for instance, areas affecting speech, mood, touch, and sound. The research identified a part of the brain which stores memory by linking familiar songs and the sentiments connected with those memories. However, a song can only bring strong emotions if the patient remembers that particular tune based on their emotional experience with that tune. If the song brings back good memories. Then the patient might feel happy and show some emotions by humming, clapping, or swaying to the sound of that particular song.
If you play a song that triggers bad memories, such as the death of a loved one or a break up with a boyfriend, their response may involve mixed emotions- and could upset their overall mood and cause them to act agitated or project sad facial expressions.
Music in the Early Stage
During the early stages, patients may enjoy playing music or singing along to songs they love. You may encourage them by helping to pick out their favorite old ballads and support them by playing what they like listening to, whenever they want to listen to music. This encouragement engages the patients to live better with Dementia, and they feel appreciated and alive when around their loved ones. Dementia music players can help by making a playlist of the patient’s favorite songs. Which date back to their younger years. Some may prefer listening to spiritual songs of faith – encourage them still.
Music in Mid Stage
Some patients in mid-stage may go ahead and get involved in playing the piano or whatever instrument they played in their younger years. Please encourage them to keep playing to help keep their senses and live better with Dementia. It also helps to jog their memory, and they can significantly benefit from it. On the downside, encourage them when they feel frustrated if they forget a chord or they get off tune.
In the middle stages, music may aid in sleep patterns for patients with Alzheimer’s. Music triggers a hormone in the patient that helps regulate sleep cycles. Which is hugely beneficial to the patients’ sleep patterns, improving their overall health.
Music in Late Stage
In the later stages of the disease, music often helps patients to connect with loved ones or trigger emotions. Patients enjoy listening to recordings made in the earlier stages of the illness. The songs help calm them when they feel restless and uncomfortable in the final stages of the disease.
As the disease progresses, music helps to calm the patients’ nerves and improve balance when walking. It is no doubt that music has proven to be a great motivator with advanced patients, and having dementia music players can be a huge plus. It provides great comfort and relaxation. Besides, it exudes an aura of positivity and overall happiness in the lives of patients.