Music In Middle Stage Alzheimers
Some people in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s can continue to play the piano well, and benefit from it. Others may become frustrated when they forget the chord or can’t read the music.
In the middle stages, when behaviors can sometimes be challenging, music is an often-effective way to distract someone. A nurse aide that we know, for example, almost always sings a song with the person she’s helping while they walk together. The person walks farther because he’s singing along, and has a more enjoyable time getting his daily exercises accomplished.
Music may also be beneficial to mood and sleep patterns for people with Alzheimer’s. A study published in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine was conducted with 20 male residents who had a diagnosis of probable Alzheimer’s at a nursing home.
These men participated in music therapy five times a week for four weeks. Following the four weeks, their melatonin levels were tested and had significantly increasedand remained elevated even six weeks after the conclusion of the music therapy programming.
Therapists also noted that the men demonstrated an improved ability to learn the songs and lyrics, increased social interaction, and a more relaxed and calm mood.
You Make Me Feel So Young
Frank Sinatra is another classic choice and this song in particular has great lyrics that are especially appropriate. Its moderate pace is great for dancing as well, which usually leads to emotional and physical closeness – a noteworthy outcome since patients in the later stages of dementia often lose the ability to share emotions with caregivers. Another popular choice to consider? New York, New York.
How Can Music Ease Dementia Patients
Based on medical studies, here are some suggestions for how medical professionals, caregivers, and loved ones can help dementia patients using music.
Applying soothing music, using genres that were popular throughout the individuals lifetime, and using background music during activities or visiting hours can boost overall quality of life for patients with Alzheimers as their condition progresses.
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Combine Music With Physical Activities
Combining music with physical activities like walking or dancing can help your loved one remain physically fit. Be careful not to overdo it, though, and watch for signs of sensory overload. Keep an assortment of musical selections on hand so you can vary the tempo according to your loved ones mood.;
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Things To Be Aware Of
Start with gentle, quiet music. But make the music a focal point, so consider putting a record, tape or CD on in front of the person and adjusting the volume as applicable.
Music can awaken negative emotions as well as positive ones, so watch the person closely for any signs of discomfort and turn the music off if you think it is causing undue distress. Expressing sadness may be a normal reaction to a strong memory or association to the music and just sitting with the person during this time may be the best response.
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Reasons Why Music Boosts Brain Activity
Why Music Boosts Brain Activity In Dementia Patients
Music is understood;to be;a great way to break through to dementia patients, but do you know why? A new study shows us;how;music helps those;suffering with Alzheimers disease. Learn more.
Music has been known;to affect;those with dementia and Alzheimers, but why it has an effect on these patients has not always been clear until now.
Select Songs Of Their Time
It can be helpful to choose music that they enjoyed listening to during positive times in their life. These can be childhood favorites or hit songs that may evoke positive memories.
You also want to take into account;the patients history with music. This includes whether they ever played an instrument or if they had a favorite singer or musical that they enjoy.
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Uk Researcher Finds Alzheimers Patients Get Hooked On A Feeling With Music
LEXINGTON, Ky. Newly published research has found familiar music can elicit an extended emotional response in patients with Alzheimers-type dementia. The findings from;this potential new approach;were featured in issue three of volume 78 of the Journal of Alzheimers Disease.
Building on the belief that music has emotional and behavioral benefits, researchers under the leadership of University of Kentucky School of Musics Alaine E. Reschke-Hernández, assistant professor of music therapy, set out to explore if those emotions provoked by music remain without declarative memory . In the article, Hooked on a Feeling: Influence of Brief Exposure to Familiar Music on Feelings of Emotion in Individuals with Alzheimers Disease, the team of researchers from UK, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Harvard University and University of Iowa studied the response of people with Alzheimers.
As part of this study, 20 participants with Alzheimers and 19 participants without dementia were asked to listen to two four-and-half-minute blocks of music of their choice with the goal of eliciting either a happy or sad response. The group reported their feelings before and after each listening session. They also took recall and recognition tests on the music after each induction.
Reschke-Hernández sat down with UK Research Communications to talk about her research.
Where do you think we go from here based on your findings?
Take Cues From Their Response
When youre playing certain songs, look for cues to see what they enjoy the most. If they smile and tap along with a few particular songs, play those more often than ones where they are less reactive.
Taking care of a loved one with Alzheimers can be a challenging process for anyone. When its time to reach out for help, contact our caring and experienced team of professionals at C-Care Health Services. Our dedicated staff can provide all the extra support at home when you cant be there. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services.
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Additional Benefits Of Music
Active participation in musical activities also has many benefits. These may include singing, such as sing-along programs, or participation in choirs. Singing is proven to release oxytocin, which leads to reduced anxiety and stress. Group singing promotes relationships and trust. In addition to the pleasure of singing, there are physical benefits. Singing increases the lung capacity and improves immunity. Increased oxygenation of the blood leads to feeling more alert. Singing along with favorite musicals on a video player is easy to do at home.;
Group musical activities encourage personal expression and group bonding, as well as the pleasure in making music. Persons with Alzheimer’s can, for example, play simple percussion instruments as part of a group musical activity. Drum circles are fun and beneficial. They are a physical outlet and may improve motor function. These activities may be led by community musicians, recreational therapists, or music therapists.
Music Releases Happy Hormones And Promotes Socialization
Listening to music and singing are known to increase the secretion of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins often called the happy hormones.7 They can also bring people together: Things like singing, dancing, and actively being involved in a music session encourage socialization and give patients direction and an overall sense of purpose. This can also help curb any negative behavior or aggression.8
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Art Therapy For Alzheimer’s Disease
Painting, drawing, and other forms of art therapy can help people with Alzheimerâs disease express themselves. Expression through art can become especially important as a personâs ability to communicate through words deteriorates.
Hereâs how to get your loved one engaged in art therapy:
Music Intervention May Increase Communication
Think of your favorite song. Where does it take you? What does it stir up? Music evokes emotions and memories, which is why musical intervention has therapeutic benefits for people with dementia or Alzheimers disease. Musical interventions have shown to decrease a patients agitation and improve communication and caregiver relationships.
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe the resulting disorder from brain disease or injury that is marked by loss of memory and cognitive abilities. Alzheimers disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60%-70% of cases.
Northwestern Medicine Neurologist Borna Bonakdarpour, MD, is a physician musician. He combines his love of music with research on how musical intervention affects the brain of people with dementia.
When we use musical intervention, were looking for areas and networks in the brain that are intact to serve as bridges and help the areas that are not working well, says Dr. Bonakdarpour. Singing, for example, can be a bridge to communicating better through language. The rhythmic nature of music can help people walk better.
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Medical Studies On Music And The Impact On Alzheimers Patients
Some medical research has been devoted to understanding how music can help people with Alzheimers disease.
- Music evokes emotion, even in advanced Alzheimers patients, which helps them remember certain activities or make subconscious associations with them.
- Pairing music with daily activities helps to improve cognition, including recognition of daily routines.
- Musical aptitude and appreciation are two abilities that remain the longest in the brain during the progression of Alzheimers disease.
- Music can increase emotional closeness with caretakers while Alzheimers can take away a persons ability to emotionally bond with their caretakers.
One study found that music therapy reduced agitation in patients with dementia. An overview of the medical literature found that music therapy, when included as part of a larger treatment plan, reduced anxiety and stress levels with as little as two 30-minute sessions of music therapy per week.
Another review of 25 trials involving patients with stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons, and Alzheimers disease, along with other neurological conditions, concluded that music is a great therapeutic approach to reducing anxiety and depression in people who suffer serious medical conditions, including those impacting cognition, memory, and emotions. Improvements in self-esteem, mood, and quality of life were reported.
A Father’s Pain Eased
I have seen the healing power of music up close. When I quit my job as a radio news anchor in New York to come home to help my mother care for my father, who had Alzheimer’s, we used music in every aspect of caregiving. I sang or played Frank Sinatra’s “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” to wake him up. Instead of being lost and confused in the mornings, as often happens for people with Alzheimer’s, the song made him realize where he was and who my mother and I were.
My father loved jazz and had been an accomplished singer. Jazz classics like George Gershwin’s “Summertime” and Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” were great for showering, brushing teeth and getting dressed. I used the songs to distract him during these tasks. In the afternoons, when what’s called “sundowning” sometimes occurs and Alzheimer’s patients get anxious or angry, Diana Krall’s version of “I Get Along Without You Very Well” would calm him down. As his disease progressed, when he would become almost catatonic, all I had to do was start singing the words to the fight song of his alma mater, the University of Michigan and his eyes would engage and he would sing along.
When my father died in 2010 at age 83, our sadness was relieved a bit by the sense that his last years of life were less isolated and dark than they might have been otherwise.
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Music And Memory Program
Since 2017, Long Island Alzheimer’s and Dementia Centers Music and Memory Program has offered hope to those impacted by dementia and caregivers. The programs growth and extraordinary results have earned Long Island Alzheimer’s and Dementia Center the 2018 Imagine Award for Innovation. Our Music and Memory program is available to all caregivers and diagnosed individuals.
Study: Music Therapy Benefits Alzheimers Patients
Many associate forgetfulness with old age, but one disease diagnosed primarily in elderly patients severely affects the memory of over five million Americans.; Sometimes known as old timers disease, ;Alzheimers most often affects patients over the age of 65. A form of dementia, the disease causes changes in the brain which initially cause mild memory issues. In later stages, patients may not be able to talk with others or seem aware of things happening around them. This deadly disease has no cure, but research regarding new treatments, early detection and music therapy offer hope.
According to the;Alzheimers Association, women account for about two-thirds of those diagnosed with the disease. Some diseases garner more attention and headlines than Alzheimers, such as breast cancer. However, while women in the US have a 1 in 11 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, they have a 1 in 6 chance of being diagnosed with Alzheimers. The disease ranks as the sixth deadliest in the nation.
Since the disease has no cure currently, others focus on ways to improve a patients quality of life. Music offers a host of benefits for Alzheimers patients in varying stages of the disease. Studies show music therapy improves a patients focus, improves their ability to communicate with those close to them and may lower the dependence on psychiatric drugs.
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Music And Dementia: Looking At The Data
Musical perception, musical emotion, and musical memory can survive long after other forms of memory and cognitive function have disappeared. In non-demented Parkinsons disease, music therapy can lead to fluent motor flow, such as dancing. But once the music stops, so does the improvement in motor function. In dementia it can improve mood, behavior, and in some cases cognitive function, which can persist for hours and days after the music stops. Music also does not need to be familiar to exert these improvements and one does not need to have any formal knowledge of music or be musically inclined to enjoy music and respond to it at the deepest level.
What Music Is Best For People With Dementia
What type of music ultimately works best for your loved one? The simple answer is: individualized music, or songs that resonate and have a personal meaning to them. In a review of several studies on music and Alzheimers, the research found that personalized music provided the best outcomes in improving mood, reducing agitation, and more.
Typically, our music taste comes from our teenage years, says Smith. Based on the age of the resident, we can determine what era of music would;have the biggest impact for them.
Heres how to;build the perfect playlist;for your loved one:
1. Find songs with personal meaning.
Listening to old favorites can bring back joy and make potentially troublesome;activities of daily living; such as bathing or dressing go more smoothly. Do they love classic rock, smooth jazz, or traditional hymns? Depending on their stage of dementia, your loved one may be able to tell you their favorite songs. Older family members may also be able to recall tunes that are special to them.
2. Include stimulating music from their youth.
Stimulating big band, swing, and salsa music can inspire dance and movement in people with dementia, providing much needed physical exercise, entertainment, and excitement.
Look at the top pop songs from your loved ones young adult years. For example, if they were born in the 1930s, look at the music charts from the late 1940s and 1950s.;
3. Use soothing songs to reduce agitation.
4. Evoke happy memories through sing-along classics.
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I Want To Hold Your Hand
You cant make a list of songs that take you down memory lane without mentioning The Beatles. With its repetitive lyrics and simple message of being with someone you love, this Beatles hit is one of many great choices to add to your playlist. Other possibilities include Yesterday, Hey Jude, and Let It Be.
Can Music Therapy Help People With Dementia
Rather than a disease, dementia is a set of symptoms that interferes with cognitive abilities such as memory, language, judgment, communication, and thinking. Dementia is common in older individuals , and usually starts with memory loss before gradually becoming severe enough to interfere with daily living. Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia, with more than five million Americans suffering from it. There is no cure for dementia, but symptoms and quality of life can be improved. In particular, non-drug treatments are preferred since they are safe, non-invasive, and effective in treating behavioral problems.1
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