Why is music so powerful for people with dementia?
Whether it’s listening to favourite songs, singing or playing an instrument, most families find music has a remarkable, almost magical ability to ‘bring back’ their loved ones in a way no other therapy can quite manage.
Here’s 8 reasons to add some music to your day
1. It’s been proven to improve mood
A scientific study of residents living in dementia care homes showed that listening to favourite music helped ease agitation, anxiety and distressing behaviour. Music can also be used to create or enhance a mood so it has enormous potential.
2. It can reduce the need for medication
A massive study of more than 25,000 nursing home residents found that those who listened to a personal playlist (a list of carefully selected favourite music chosen specially for them) were ‘significantly more likely’ to no longer need anti-psychotic drugs.
3. It could slow down memory loss
Classical music can help slow down the onset of dementia, according to research. People who listened to Mozart were shown in a Finnish study to have enhanced gene activity in areas of the brain connected with memory and learning.
4. Music is a powerful emotional tool
A favourite piece of music can make anyone laugh or cry when it taps into a strong memory – and people with dementia are no different.
5. When words fail…music still speaks
When verbal communication becomes too difficult, music can still provide a way to connect with the world.
6. Music boosts confidence
If you can’t remember what day it is, but you can still recall the words to every verse of your favourite song… you’re bound to feel good about yourself.
7. It’s very relaxing
In the later stages of dementia, music can bring a great deal of passive pleasure. Listening to a favourite CD, could bring a great sense of comfort and normality to a world which may otherwise seem strange and unfamiliar.
8. It can reduce your risk of developing dementia
A study involving 157 sets of twins revealed that those who played an instrument lowered their risk of getting dementia by one third. The reasons are unclear, but could be because learning to play an instrument increases the brains resilience when it faces attack.