Help an Alzheimer’s or Dementia Patient Regain a Sense of Self through Music Therapy
A recent article in Care2Make a difference, brought up an interesting way to help Alzheimer’s and dementia patients feel a sense of identity with their old selves: music therapy. The article reviewed the research behind music therapy and suggested techniques and musical styles to help a loved one or patient recapture old memories.
Music is a complex memory
Research has shown that music tends to be accessible long after other memories have failed. Music registers in the brain not simply as a sound, but as a mix of primal emotions, language, movement, and cognition. Music also taps into muscle memory when a person hears a song they may have danced to, and a person may still be able to recall how to play an instrument. Even if the person doesn’t remember the exact context of certain songs, music can bring back positive, mood-lifting associations.
Music therapy works at home, too
Whether your loved one is at a long-term care facility or in your personal care, you can use the power of music to help uncover previous associations. If you’re unsure about what type of music may do the trick for your loved one, here are some suggestions:
Era-Favorites: Research what type of music was popular during the decade when your loved one or patient was a teenager or in their 20s. Pick out a selection of songs and create a playlist to share.
Christmas Carols: How appropriate for December! Even if it’s not the holiday season, Christmas carols are classics that most everyone, at some point, has had plenty of exposure to.
Hymns: If your loved one or patient grew up going to church, they’ve probably heard a lot of hymnals. You can search for hymnals online or at a record store and compile a playlist.
Musicals: Musicals are another classic that many have been exposed to at some point. Pick older, classic movies with well-known songs, such as those from “The Sound of Music,” or “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Musical instruments: If an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient once played a musical instrument, chances are, they still can. Track down the instrument they once played—their muscle memory may still kick in.
Do you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia? Are you looking for community resources or a long-term care facility? At Lompoc Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, we have a caring, trained staff who specializes in memory care. Come take a tour and see our beautiful Central Coast skilled nursing facility.