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Music as Medicine: Treating Seniors with Dementia

The beneficial effects of music have long been utilized in therapeutic mental health care to alleviate stress and to improve mood. More recently, music is being used to help patients with dementia improve some of their biological functioning as well. Listening to music can enhance memory, improve language processing and assist patients in moving more freely, in addition to helping improve their overall quality of life.

As a leading provider of dementia care in Annapolis, it’s exciting to share some of the great research that has been found in regards to music and the effects it can have on dementia symptoms. With our balanced approach to care, we know that it’s not just meeting the physical needs of our clients with dementia, but their emotional and cognitive needs as well. Read on and see how music can positively impact memory, language processing and motor functioning.

Music and Memory

Scientists believe that listening to music helps elicit emotional responses, which then evoke the memories that are associated with those emotions. Patients with dementia often seem to have a stronger sense of self after listening to music. Additionally, setting tasks to music can help the patient develop a rhythm which may prompt them to remember how to complete the task.

Music and Language Processing

Researchers have developed a technique, called melodic intonation that may help people with speech problems regain some of their ability to speak. The patient is first encouraged to sing along with a song. Then the music is removed, but the patient still sings, and then eventually, learns to speak the words without music. This process takes time and patience, but can potentially help dementia patients communicate more ably.

Music and Motor Functioning

Many dementia patients experience difficulty with initiating movement, a condition known as bradykinesia. Listing to music has been shown to help patients get going, and to maintain regular synchronized movements, like walking. Medical professionals believe that the rhythm of the music helps regulate brain wave activity, which helps stabilize and maintain movement.

Music and Mood

In addition to the biological benefits that music promotes, it can also improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety. In some cases, music therapy has even reduced the need for the use of psychotropic drugs.

To learn more about dementia care for seniors, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Annapolis today. Along with experienced, professional and compassionate dementia caregivers, we offer a revolutionary program to our clients at no additional cost, the Cognitive Therapeutics Method. This in-home wellness program utilizes fun and stimulating brain games to promote mental acuity, cognitive functioning and overall brain health for seniors with dementia, while ensuring their safety and comfort. And because our caregivers provide CTM on a one-to-one basis, seniors benefit from genuine companionship and social interaction.