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Music Treatment for Dementia

News January 19th, 2015

By: Mary Cordova

If your loved one suffers from dementia, there’s a very real possibility that — at some point — you’ll no longer be able to communicate with them.

There’s a flood of emotions that come with this, not the least of which is the frustration that you’ll never be able to know what they do understand you.

Yes, dementia is a gradual symptom, but when you’re enmeshed in the caregiving routine, you can lose track of time and not realize they’ve progressed to the next stage. Or, if your elder is in a senior living community or even at home receiving care, then it may have been awhile since your last visit.

Whatever the reason, the emotional impact is devastating and you can be left at a loss for what to do next. Fortunately, even if you cannot communicate with words… there are other options; namely, music.

Music Treatment for Dementia Seniors

There have been numerous links between the human brain and music for years. Music, it has been said to engage the entire brain; one of the very few recreational activities to do so — some say, the only activity to engage the whole brain.

Even if you’re not wholly familiar with music’s affect on the brain, you’ve probably heard of expecting mothers playing Mozart or Beethoven to their unborn children. Some say it increases their intellect or aptitude for learning.

Regardless of its quantifiable effects, one thing is certain, babies understand music at 16 weeks and that’s long before they learn language. Similarly, the same applies to dementia seniors.

Music treatment for dementia seniors engages the whole brain and can reignite the parts ridden with the worst of their condition.

Countless stories have transpired — go ahead and look — of elders with dementia, who have been revitalized by music or, in some cases, soothed.

For some seniors, this does get them talking again. For others, it can calm them — say, if they’re sundowning — making them feel more whole. Most importantly, it can remind elders of who they are and where they’ve been.

Continuing Care for Dementia Seniors

Music treatment for dementia seniors is proven to work. If your elder currently suffers from this condition, then consider playing certain songs when you’re with them — even before they can’t communicate. This way, they may be able to recall time with you with a song.

Again, there are various companies and organizations that use music to inspire dementia seniors. For example, one woman ceased communicating with language LONG ago, but with a reminiscent hymn, she sat down at the piano and started to play along. Language is one thing, but being able to be dexterous enough to find the right keys is extraordinary.

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