7 Tips for Alzheimer’s Music Therapy
Article by Katie Harper
As you’ve no doubt experienced, a particular song can take you back to a particular place and time; you remember where you were when you heard it and what you were doing. The song itself allowed you to access the memory and without it, you wouldn’t of. Music, therefore, can facilitate memory recall.
A recent study conducted at the University of Florida confirmed that the benefits are not solely observed at the moment in time when sufferers are listening to, and enjoying, the music, but it actually affected them physiologically. They found that a music therapy programme raised melatonin levels and improved behaviour and sleeping problems.
Listening to familiar music can be both enjoyable and comforting; relieving stress and anxiety and improving mood. An old familiar or favourite tune can stir emotions and memories, putting the sufferer in a better frame of mind, and encouraging better social relations. Listeners become stimulated, clapping or singing along. In a group setting, the music may prompt listeners to reminisce about their past and interact with one another.
Whilst people with Alzheimer’s can lose the ability to speak or recognise loved ones as the disease progresses, but many remember songs from long ago. In the later stages of dementia, sufferers may not recognise family but may remember a song, and draw comfort from it.
It is not suggested, of course, that music can reverse awful effects of Alzheimer’s disease, but music therapy can complement other forms of treatment.
Follow these great tips and see how music therapy can be of benefit to sufferers Alzheimer’s and a great tool for carers?
1. Identify music that’s familiar and enjoyable to the listener. Find out what kind of music the person grew up listening to. Songs from childhood work really well because they can be remembered more easily.
2. CDs are better than radio as you have total control; interruption by commercials can cause confusion.
3. Use music to create the mood you want. Use energetic music to enliven and relaxing music before bed.
4. Link music with other things that can help stir their memories such as photographs.
5. Encourage movement such as dancing or clapping which will increase enjoyment.
6. Avoid distractions such as competing noises by shutting windows and doors and by turning off the television.
7. Ideally, try to listen to about 30-40 minutes of music a day, for at least five days each week.
I enjoy working with RejuveMind as I feel I am actually helping people to improve their memory, concentration and mood; reduce the risks of Alzheimer?s and dementia.
Demonstration of selected exercise and language interventions from the University of Arizona Alzheimer Treatment by Students Program with references to related websites and final research paper.
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