Music speaks to people in a variety of ways. Whether it makes them want to dance, sing, run a mile or just makes them happy, music is known as a powerful way to influence someone’s mood. People who battle Alzheimer’s disease are the perfect candidate for music therapy. Studies have shown that in the middle-stages of the disease, music has reduced agitation and improved some behavioral occurrences. Now the key to music therapy is finding right genre of music that best suites the person. Many people with Alzheimer’s are older and don’t like today’s top hits. They love the music styles from their childhood. May it be Frank Sinatra, old radio shows, classical symphony or old church hymns, you need to take the time to find the right one.
The genre is not the only important aspect of music therapy. The beat of the song can also have an influential effect on a person’s mood. If the song is slower or more tranquil, then the person listening tends to be more relaxed and calm. If you want to evoke a sense of happiness, trying playing a more up beat song from the person’s childhood. If the person is able, encourage them to move to the music. Clapping and dancing can add to the enjoyment of the song and also create physical exercise for the individual. The more you, as a caregiver, family member or friend, get into the song, the more your loved one will be happy and excited to be part of something so fun!
Lastly, music therapy can also lead to reminiscing for an Alzheimer’s individual. Just like looking at pictures or seeing an old household item, music can bring up memories from a person’s past. They might relate a song to a specific time in their life and this will bring up conversation about their past. Music therapy has many uses for Alzheimer’s individuals, creating happy times, bringing up old memories or just having fun in the present, it is known to be quite effective. So give it a try, play a song from your loved one’s childhood and see how they react. Who knows, you might end up with a new favorite song too!