ALTERNATIVE THERAPY for DEMENTIA
MUSIC ACTIVITIES FOR PEOPLE WITH ALZHEIMER'S
Artistic and creative talents often remain strong long after Alzheimer's disease has severely affected memory and other cognitive processes.
This includes the creativity elicited by music and music activities. The benefits derived from music intervention include reminiscence and memory stimulation, socialization, an d a decrease in some or the "difficult" behavioral aspects of the disease, including anxiety, apathy, and agitation
An individual whose memory is severely affected by a dementia will often remember songs from his or her past and even sing along with those songs. People often report being surprised when their mother or father who doesn't remember who they are sings a familiar song without missing a word.
It's not just the stimulation caused by the memory of the song that is gratifying and therapeutic, but reminiscences are also conjured. With those reminiscences, emotions that became associated with the songs long ago are brought out and relived. It's common for a familiar song or piece of music to elicit smiles, laughter, and even tears.
There are a number of ways to bring the therapeutic effects of music into you home or residence:
- Just Listen — Music should always be available. music stimulates almost every part of the brain. Regardless of the type or familiarity of the music, the brain benefits when it hears and processes the stimulation.
- Background Music — Having soothing music playing in the background at meals or during other activities creates a calming atmosphere. There is even evidence that music played in the background can improve memory.
- Music and Activity — Music has the potential to make almost any activity more enjoyable and more beneficial. Dance to music! Exercise to music! Perhaps most obviously, sing along with music! Singing along with a familiar recording also stimulates memory and inspires reminiscing. Clapping hands or using rhythmci instruments gets the body involved as well.
- Create Music — Use simple instruments and percussion instruments to make your own music.