Caring for a person with dementia can be challenging, especially as activities he used to enjoy become impossible to engage in or no longer interesting. Listening to music is one activity which is generally soothing and fun for seniors with dementia.
Music makes people happy
We all get a boost when we listen to music. Scientific research shows that listening to music for 15 minutes can bring joy. Dementia patients are at risk for depression, so mood-boosters are especially important for them. Play some music while there’s nothing else going on, and sit quietly and listen or get up and dance together!
Music enhances memory
Music evokes emotion and emotion can bring back memory. When a certain musical piece is associated with a specific activity, the dementia patient can remember it better. So you can pair everyday routines such as dressing with songs you play over and over.
In addition, dementia sufferers have an uncanny ability to remember songs they knew way back when. Play nostalgic songs from their childhood and you will be surprised by how many of the words they remember and what memories may surface along with the musical recognition.
Listening and singing engages the brain
Listening to music engages the right part of the brain and singing engages the left side. That means a dementia patient who sings along with music is engaging both parts of his brain at once. This is a great way to stimulate the brain and improve cognitive abilities.
Musical aptitude and appreciation last longer than other abilities
When dementia patients are no longer able to accomplish most tasks, they will still be able to appreciate and participate in music. Some memory-impaired people sing and hum long after they stop speaking. As memory deteriorates, it can become more and more difficult to communicate with a loved one and music is an excellent tool for reaching the person within.