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The Power Of Music In Dementia

Long Island Alzheimer’s And Dementia Center Chorus Program

Power Of Music On The Brain | Dementia & Parkinson’s

Across the nation, dozens of choirs have developed for people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The goal of Long Island Alzheimer’s and Dementia Center’s Chorus Program is to reduce anxiety, exercise the brain, foster new friendships, and have fun through the remarkable power of song. Our Chorus Program brings together diagnosed individuals and their caregivers for a shared purpose.

Looking to learn more about our Music and Memory program or the Long Island Alzheimer’s and Dementia Center Chorus? Please call our center at 516-767-6856 for more information.

The Transformative Power Of Music In Those With Dementia

Sep 17, 2021 | Dementia News |

Professor Paul Robertson, who is a concert violinist but also an academic who has studied music in dementia care, told AgeUk, We tend to remain contactable as musical beings on some level right up to the very end of life.

We know that the auditory system of the brain is the first to fully function at 16 weeks, which means that you are musically receptive long before anything else. So its a case of first in, last out when it comes to a dementia-type breakdown of memory.

In my own case, music was a way to connect with my father in his final stages of life he was living with Alzheimers, which affected much of his day to day existence, but as a passionate trad jazz fan he could relive his happiest memories whenever I played him a bit of Kenny Ball or Fats Waller. Even in his last few days when he was seemingly unconscious, I sat by him with quiet jazz songs playing on my phone in the hope that he could still hear them.

Professor Robertson recalled many occasions where the connection brought through music has created a seemingly impossible breakthrough, such as in the case of a former church organist with advanced dementia. She was very far gone, no language, no recognition. Someone started singing a hymn and this woman sat down at the piano, found the right key and accompanied the singer in perfect order.

Music And Dementia Caregiving

Musical memories are often preserved in dementia patients because key brain areas linked to musical memory are relatively undamaged by the disease. Mayo Clinic

Thus, music can be a valuable tool in dementia caregiving as a way to reconnect to a persons sense of identity. A person living with dementia may not know who they are, what their name is or what day it is, but when you play Elvis they can sing every word to a song.

When we are able to use music as an identity trigger to remind people of who they are, we can help them reconnect to their sense of self.

Jennie Gubner, PhD Ethnomusicologist at the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music and Applied Intercultural Arts Research Graduate Interdisciplinary Program

Dementia caregivers could use personalized music, music that means something to the patient, to provide care that is focused on self and personality.

So, music can often have a positive effect on those living with dementia or caring for someone with dementia.

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The Power Of Music In Dementia Caregiving: Benefits Of Music Therapy

People with dementia tend to socially isolate because of a variety of reasons. From the daily stresses of living with cognitive impairment to the social stigma of Alzheimers and other dementias. They make people withdraw.

In the context of dementia care, we can use music as a way to combat loneliness, social isolation and to offer opportunities for meaningful social connections.

Oftentimes, verbal communication can become difficult as dementia progresses. We can wield the power of music in dementia caregiving and offer opportunities for social engagement that doesnt involve talking.

There is no need to talk if we sit and enjoy music with somebody. And that can be a very powerful way to socially connect without words.

Dementia And The Power Of Music

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Researchers have long explored how music affects the mind. For example, can listening to music boost academic performance, alleviate depression or help kids become better learners? Several studies have shown that music can influence our ability to think, learn and remember and even connect with the people around us.

One fascinating area of research is how people with Alzheimers disease and other types of dementia can benefit from music. This question is especially compelling in the face of sombre statistics: the Alzheimer Society of Canada reports that 564,000 Canadians live with dementia 15 years from now, that number is expected to surpass 930,000.

Alzheimers disease and other types of dementia can cause memory problems that affect day-to-day activities, difficulties with language, changes in mood and behaviour, disorientation in time and place, and other effects. As dementia progresses, cognitive and functional abilities continue to decline, and eventually the person loses the ability to communicate verbally. There is not yet a cure for Alzheimers disease or several other kinds of dementia, but you can take steps to reduce your risk.

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The Power Of Music In Dementia Care

The following are excerpts from an article written by Raphael Adams, a member of the Qualicare family. The video at the end is an excerpt from the documentary Alive Inside that will be released on September 9. The documentary follows a social worker who decides to bring music into a nursing home and study its effects on the residents there.

The Healing Power Of Music

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Miami School of Medicine revealed that music therapy leads to increased secretion levels of “feel-good” brain chemicals, including melatonin, serotonin, norepinephrine, epinephrine, and prolactin in Alzheimers patients.

The results are manifold: music can boost mood, reduce stress and agitation, foster positive social interactions, coordinate motor function, and even facilitate cognition. How? Even as the disease progresses and cognitive function declines, the human brain still naturally responds to music. And the benefits continue long after the music stops playing.

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Music Has A Valuable Role To Play In Enhancing The Quality Of Life Of People Living With Dementia As Well As Their Carers Director Of The Music For Dementia Campaign Grace Meadows Encourages Care Workers To Unlock The Power Of Music To Support Their Own Health And Wellbeing

For several years Music for Dementia has campaigned for people with dementia to have music as an intrinsic part of their care and support whatever their circumstances, and the organisation is calling on the social care sector to help make it an integral part of dementia care.

Research and lived experiences show that music can help reduce the often-distressing symptoms of dementia, such as agitation and anxiety, but these benefits are not restricted to the person living with dementia, they also extend to caregivers.

For music to be an integral part of dementia care in care settings, it is essential that care workers are empowered and given the skills to use music, in all its different forms, as part of the day-to-day delivery and support provided to people with dementia living in care settings.

Against a backdrop of workforce challenges, funding pressures and concerns about staff wellbeing, with stress and burnout being at its highest reported among health and social care workers from the pandemic, we have a workforce that needs supporting. Although not a magical cure or a substitute for therapy, medication or any other professional intervention, music can be an important element of self-care.

Managing stress

Aid to focus

Most research into the health benefits from music centre on its ability to calm us down and relieve stress, but music can also be used as an aid to focus on certain tasks or help sharpen our brains ability to recall information and make connections.

How Can Music Therapy Be Encouraged

The incredible power of music for people with dementia | Whiddon

The Power of Music Therapy for Dementia suggests that the way to successfully persuade senior citizens to try music therapy is to take what is known about Alzheimers disease and dementia and apply it to music. Since dementia is frequently caused by depression or loneliness, treatment options should be focused on trying to find ways to reduce those issues. Treatment with music has been proven to be effective in reducing depression. Listening to certain types of music can also help people think more clearly and feel happier. Consequently, it is important that treatment plans are focused around finding ways for the patient to become happier, which will reduce the symptoms of Alzheimers disease.

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Help Bring Musicto Those In Need

Millions of aging Americans living in long-term care facilities face cognitive and physical difficulties and have left behind their familiar surroundings, familiar faces, and even their favorite music. Despite the best efforts of loved ones, their lives often lack meaning, spontaneity, choice, and reliable social interaction.

But theres reason to hope for a better life as we age. At Music & Memory, we help people in nursing homes and other care organizations who suffer from a wide range of cognitive and physical challenges to find renewed meaning and connection in their lives through the gift of personalized music.

Music Helps Dementia Patients Recall Memories And Emotions

A recent study shows that dementia and Alzheimers patients can recall memories and emotions, and have enhanced mental performance after singing classic hits and show tunes from movies and musicals a breakthrough in understanding how music affects those with dementia and Alzheimers.

Researchers determined the effect music has on dementia patients, by leading half of the participants through selected songs while the other half listened to the music being played. After the musical treatment, all participants took cognitive ability and life satisfaction tests. which showed how participants scored significantly better when being lead through songs, rather than only listening.

Here are five reasons why researchers believe that music boosts brain activity:

1. Music evokes emotions that bring memories.

Music can evoke emotion in even the most advanced of Alzheimers patients. Neurologist Oliver Sacks says that, Music evokes emotion, and emotion can bring with it memory it brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can. By pairing music with every day activities, patients can develop a rhythm that helps them to the recall the memory of that activity, improving cognitive ability over time.

2. Musical aptitude and appreciation are two of the last remaining abilities in dementia patients.

3. Music can bring emotional and physical closeness.

4. Singing is engaging.

5. Music can shift mood, manage stress and stimulate positive interactions.

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About The Authorlong Island Alzheimer’s And Dementia Center

At the Long Island Alzheimer’s and Dementia Center, our mission is to improve the quality of life for those living with Alzheimers disease and related forms of dementia, and their caregivers. We actively work to achieve this mission through research-based programming for all stages of Alzheimers, Caregiver Support Groups, in-home respite solutions, transportation options, and additional services.

How Does Music Therapy Help Dementia

The Power of Music in Dementia Care: Music and Brain Health

Music is thought to be highly beneficial for someone with dementia. According to NHS England, engaging in musical activities can help to improve the quality of life for those living with dementia and their carers. Something universally enjoyed, music holds a whole host of benefits from aiding with relaxation to sparking memories.

As a result of music therapy, carers and care homes have reported some incredible and inspiring outcomes. Those living with dementia in the early stages are said to have improved moods and reduced agitation after therapy sessions. While those in the very late stages, who have lost the ability to communicate or move around easily, will often lift their heads and engage with others for the first time in a very long period of inactivity.

Playing music during the evenings can even help combat sundowning, which is when a person with dementia may feel particularly restless or exhibit signs of anxiety or confusion during the evening. Playing soothing music is the best option in this case.

One music therapist remembers a lady who had once been an organ player but had now lost the ability to speak or recognise anyone. Upon hearing someone singing a favourite hymn, the therapist recalls, the lady was able to sit at a piano and accompany the singer perfectly.

Here are some commonly understood therapeutic benefits of music for dementia:

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Our Dementia Radio Is Designed For An Easy Listening Experience

If your loved one is having trouble accessing the music they love using conventional technology, then our Dementia Radio may be the right option for them. It boosts independence with unique programming, an easy-to-use control panel and large buttons. Read more about the benefits of dementia-friendly radios here.

How Personalized Music Reawakens The Brain

The goal of finding personally meaningful music has led to a new type of therapy that is uniquely suited to the digital age the Music & Memory program, run by a nonprofit founded in 2006 by a social worker named Dan Cohen.

Music & Memory hinges on the unique power of songs that are specific to each patients personal preferences and history. Giving someone with dementia the opportunity to listen to their songs through headphones connected to iPods or other portable listening devices can arouse strong positive emotions and stimulate the brain.

A documentary called Alive Inside, which won the 2014 Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, follows residents of long-term care facilities as they experience Music & Memory for the first time. The camera records anxious, withdrawn, and even seemingly unreachable men and women as they wake up raising slumped heads, tapping feet, pushing walkers to the side and dancing, or even in one remarkable case sharing detailed childhood memories with an interviewer while listening joyfully to the songs they loved when they were young.

Galvanized by the film and looking to see if research could support the movies storytelling, a number of scientists have been finding evidence to corroborate the effects of Music & Memory.

The program is currently used in all 50 states and internationally, with the Music & Memory organization also offering instruction for home caregivers.

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Dementia Related To Blood Flow

Vascular dementia can coexist with other forms of dementia or can happen on its own. When there is not a sufficient amount of blood flow to the brain this can occur. In vascular dementia, because of the low supply of blood flow, just like in Alzheimerâs, brain cells will begin to die. Vascular dementia accounts for five to ten percent of cases.

Sometimes this form of dementia occurs after a stroke has occurred. To some patients, symptoms may be identical to those of a stroke such as numbness to one side of the face. For other individuals, they may suffer from impairments in speech and movement, along with confusion.

The Unforgettable Power Of Music Therapy For Dementia

Music Helps Bring Back Memories in Elders with Dementia

A Treatment Guide For The Four Most Common Forms of Dementia

Dementia is a rather broad term. A common misconception is that dementia itself is a disease, but that belief is false. Dementia instead is a term used to characterize diseases that affect memory, language, and thinking skills. There are many different types of dementia, the most common being Alzheimer’s disease.

Unfortunately, most forms of dementia cannot be cured. However, treatments continue to grow and improve. Music therapy, the clinical musical intervention continues to bring positive outcomes to dementia patients.

Therefore, in this post we will discuss these four forms of dementia:

  • Alzheimerâs Disease

And how music therapy can help treat them.

Also Check: What Are The Beginning Signs Of Dementia

The Power Of Music And Art In Dementia Care

Specialised dementia care encompasses many areas, from medical assistance and personal care to practical help and emotional support. Following decades of research, its been shown that music and art can be extremely beneficial for patients with dementia. Whether individuals are newly diagnosed and experiencing minimal symptoms or have been symptomatic for quite some time, engaging in artistic pursuits and craftwork can improve memory and enhance communication skills.

How do art and music help?

Although there isnt a cure for dementia yet, scientists have made breakthroughs when it comes to the management of various forms of dementia. In patients suffering from Alzheimers disease, for example, doctors are now able to understand exactly how the condition progresses and why. In addition to understanding how dementia progresses, research has highlighted ways in which symptoms can be minimised and managed.

Arts, crafts and music are just one of the ways to help reduce the symptoms of dementia, and they can be a valuable element of dementia care and elderly care. With a range of activities, which can be modified according to the individuals needs, people can engage in music and artwork at any time.

Enhancing memory

Improving communication

Minimising anxiety

Reducing depression

Alleviating boredom

Maintaining sociability

Suitable for all abilities

Professional Art and Music Therapy

Individual art and music choices

Supplementing treatments with art and music

Which Musicals Or Movies Work Best

Getting a loved one with dementia or Alzheimers to engage with music and movies may depend on which genre they enjoy the most. But, the suggestions below can help you get started:

  • The Sound of Music
  • When You Wish Upon a Star
  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Dr. Jane Flinn, a researcher from George Mason University says that the study should encourage caregivers.

The message is: do not give up on these men and women. You want to be performing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, effortless and engaging.

Do you or a loved one have any experience with music therapy for dementia? Share your story in the comments below.

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