Dementia leaves a scarring impact on people, not just those who suffer from it, but also on caregivers and other loved ones who have to see a member of their family slowly fade away. Without a cure, it is always a daunting prospect for anyone to have to deal with this life-altering illness.
However, a lot can be done to improve the quality of life of both patients and caregivers, and music therapy is one method that has recently come into a lot of use, with several studies also having been published.
Today we’ll explain what music therapy is and discuss the benefits, to help you understand and start implementing music therapy into your lives as patients and caregivers.
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is not a specific illness or disease itself. It’s a term that covers a range of neurodegenerative diseases, where memory, thinking, cognitive function, and problem-solving are all heavily impacted due to the degeneration of brain cells and nerves.
All of this makes even basic interactions incredibly difficult for patients, and caregivers and loved ones are often at a loss as the stages of dementia slowly progress. Patients also experience severe personality and mood shifts, sometimes involving violent outbursts of anger.
Caring for someone with dementia can be a daunting task, especially knowing there is no cure. However, there are many methods you can implement to make communication effective, and ensure that the patient still has some quality of life, regardless of suffering from this horrible ailment.
Music Therapy - Helping To Enhance The Lives Of Dementia Patients
Currently, medications that are prescribed to dementia patients are to help in the management of symptoms rather than treating the ailment itself. The objective is to ensure that the symptoms of dementia have as little impact as possible on the day-to-day life of the patient.
Music therapy is a technique where music is used to promote well-being and to engage the mind. Similar to how doctors ask dementia patients to solve puzzles and keep their minds engaged, music can help in exercising the mind and its different skills.
Music And Cognition
Music has a wide sensory effect and stimulates areas of the brain that are responsible for language, memory, mood, and behavior. At the risk of sounding too artistic, music does move a person and experts believe that music that is attached to the childhood and youth of patients can have a very moving impact.
Music that is attached to happy and positive memories will have a positive impact on the patient, brightening their mood and stimulating their brain in a way that few other things could do. This would all sound like artistic gibberish, had it not been for research conducted by the University of California, Davis.
Results pinpointed areas of the brain that were stimulated when familiar songs were played to participants, and these especially included areas of the brain associated with memory, comprehension, and speech.
You can also try playing new songs but introduce patients to them slowly and assess their mood when any song is played. You’ll find some songs that are upbeat and will make patients stay active and awake. Then there might be some slower soothing songs that would calm and relax, and also help patients with sleep.
There are also music therapists who approach this in a more formal way and design plans and playlists to ensure that the patient is always experiencing the moods and feelings that will promote their well-being.
Benefits of Music Therapy
Now let’s discuss the benefits of music therapy in a bit more detail.
Helps To Improve Interactions
Listening to music together and singing along is a great activity for dementia patients and caregivers to get involved in. It helps to maintain continued healthy interactions, and the singing helps dementia patients come out of their shells.
All of this is bound to have an impact on overall communication as well. Dementia patients will get the confidence they need when they listen to a song they enjoy and sing along with it. That confidence can help in day-to-day verbal communication as well, even if the communication is basic.
Mood And Immunity Booster
In music, you have an instant mood booster. When that favorite childhood song plays, a lot of good feelings come up, and sometimes even a jolt of happiness might strike, thereby improving the mood significantly.
These small lifts in mood will help dementia patients a lot, especially with the symptoms of anxiety and depression that often rise with this ailment. If the patient sings along with the song, then you’re also getting them to use their lungs and promote healthy regulation of oxygen throughout the body, including the brain.
All this will also trigger an immune response, helping to boost the patient’s immunity.
Music is one form of therapy that is free and accessible, with apps like Youtube and Spotify. You don’t need to take a patient suffering from dementia out of the safety and comfort of their own home to help them benefit from music therapy.
There are many different types of easy-to-use MP3 players as well, with attached speakers, which can make playing music a possibility wherever you are. You can be in a park or on a drive and all you need to do is press a button and let the music do its thing.
Enhance Quality of Life For Seniors with Dementia with Northwood Intouch
As you can see, music therapy has a lot to offer to people suffering from dementia and those who are caring for such people. With such an ailment, any small thing that can make the entire ordeal easier should be welcome, and music offers way much more than any small thing would.
If you’re going to be looking for an MP3 player for your affected loved one, check out some other assistive devices as well. Northwood Care specializes in such devices and related services, which include automatic fall detection alarms, stove sensors, and locked pill dispensers for dementia patients to help with better medication management.
To learn more about our products and services visit our website or call us at +1 (902) 492-3346 or email us at email@example.com.