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Music Therapy For People Suffering From Dementia

Incorporating Music Therapy Into the Lives of People Living With Dementia

The simple step of incorporating music therapy into the lives of people living with dementia is a positive move. It’s success has been documented in many studies.

Seeing the Benefits of Music Therapy First-Hand

While working in an assisted living community, the residents would frequently have singalongs after their lunch time meal. Many of the participants were living with varying stages and types of dementia. Singalong time was popular among residents and a time that everyone could join in. It became apparent at this time each week that the residents were all really happy and enjoying themselves. Some would dance, and all would sing to songs that they knew and remembered. There seemed to be no boundary for people who had dementia to remember the songs. They just remembered their favourite songs and joined in. As it was do enjoyable, nobody ever became agitated or unsettled at this time either. From first-hand experience I witnessed people that were living with dementia remembering, reminiscing and having fun in the moment over and over again.

elderly playing guitar

Positive Results Emerge From Studies on Implementing Music Therapy Into Dementia Care

Case studies have shown that people come alive when they listen to music as it may open up memories of early days. When I witnessed singalong time at the village, it was obvious that there was a doorway opened to the past which encouraged them to reminisce. This was enhanced by encouraging a time each week for socialising, creating social stimulation.

In the United Kingdom music’s frequently incorporated into dementia care, whereby trained people work with the special needs of the elderly suffering from impaired cognition and memory. Music therapy appears to awaken parts of the brain that aren’t impacted by dementia.

People who live with dementia often sing along to music, hum to the tune, and dance. It appears to be more beneficial to play music from the groups’ young adult years too, as there’s that relatability. A Cambridge study dating back to 2015, looked at how music therapy impacts on people living with dementia. The findings were that it improved people’s symptoms who suffered from dementia, and additionally improving their sense of wellbeing. It also lead to a reduction in behavioural issues.

The Future of Incorporating Music Therapy Into Dementia Care

By adding music to the lives of people who have dementia, it helps with both cognitive and emotional symptoms of dementia. More and more aged care facilities adopt the practice into their care delivery models. There obviously needs to be more research into this area but it’s showing promising results and it’s seemingly a harmless and inexpensive treatment.


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