Did you know that persons with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias can respond to music when little else reaches them deep inside? Alzheimer's can destroy the ability to recognize family members or remember events from one's own life, but musical memory somehow survives the ravages of the disease. Even in persons with advanced dementia, music can often reawaken personal memories and associations otherwise lost.
Research shows that music can have a positive impact on our loved ones, bringing them back to good times and providing them with an opportunity to positively interact with family members and others.
The benefits of music:
- Loved ones are happier and more social
- Relationships among associates, residents and family may deepen
- Creates a calm and supportive place for enjoyment
- There is growing evidence that utilizing a personalized music program with loved ones can reduce reliance on anti-psychotic medications
Oliver Sacks, MD, the noted neurologist and author, describes the profound bond between music and our brains and how the simple act of singing can be good medicine, especially as we age. "Musical activity involves many parts of the brain (emotional, motor, and cognitive areas), even more than we use for our other great human achievement, language. This is why it can be such an effective way to remember or to learn."
“The right sort of music can literally unlock someone frozen by Parkinson's disease, so that they may be able to dance or sing, even though, in the absence of music, they may be unable to take a step or say a word.”
We often witness how dementia penetrates a person’s spirit and soul. Dementia cannot touch the essence or “spirit” of a person when listening to music. Research confirms the benefits music has for dementia persons. It has been reported that engaging in music on a daily basis will raise the brain chemicals melatonin, epinephrine and norepinephrine in blood levels, which positively affects our mental state. These elevated blood chemicals often help persons who have a dementia to become more active, more cooperative, less agitated and, it often improves their ability to sleep more soundly.
We encourage you to watch Naomi Feil (founder of The Validation Therapy) in action. Visit this website and witness as she shares a breakthrough moment of communication with Gladys, who has been non-verbal for several years. This is amazing musical therapy and will touch your heart with a different kind of beat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrZXz10FcVM
Are you feeling the beat? Can you hear the music calling your name? Come on let’s sing and dance together!