Music Therapy for Alzheimer’s: Using Your Smartphone to Help a Senior Thrive

May 11th, 2017

Music Therapy for Alzheimer’sToday, music is more available than ever before. For those who carry smartphones or tablets along with them everywhere they go, hundreds of thousands – if not tens of millions of songs – are simply a couple of touches or finger swipes away. If you are a caregiver for an elderly person, your smartphone could become one of the most useful tools in your possession for helping a senior thrive by awakening his or her emotional wellbeing with music. This extensively shared video from the Alive Inside documentary demonstrates just how tremendously effective music therapy for Alzheimer’s patients and older adults with restricted capabilities can be.

With extensive musical libraries obtainable from resources like iTunes, Pandora, Rhapsody, Spotify, and numerous others, we can now discover music, in some cases for free, in an array of genres in mere seconds. Caregivers can ask clients or family members what types of music the seniors enjoyed during their lifetime. The type of music a senior might have taken pleasure in might be specific to a period of time, such as Big Band music, or it may be unique to his or her religious affiliations, such as gospel or hymns, for instance. The form of music enjoyed throughout someone’s life can also vary depending on the individual’s ethnicity – such as those who enjoy salsa or reggae. An older adult might also have enjoyed timeless favorites like jazz, classical, blues, country, folk, and the list goes on. Whatever the musical inclination, availability to music could have powerful advantages.

Have you ever heard a song on the radio and felt transported back to a previous time in your life? Research has shown that music is intensely related to personal recollections. The human brain is actually programmed to connect music with long-term memory. This is true even for persons with moderate to severe dementia. Music & Memory is a non-profit organization that brings personalized music into the lives of the elderly through digital music technology, dramatically bettering quality of life. The team at Music & Memory train caretakers for the elderly and family members in how to create and work with personal playlists with digital devices in order to help those who have dementia and other difficulties to reconnect with the world through music-triggered memories.

Studies have also revealed that enjoying music that is recognizable and well-loved can help in reducing anxiety levels and enhance focus on the current moment, which then helps older adults with dementia connect to others around them. At Visiting Angels home care, Sunnyvale, CA, our objective is always to improve the quality of life for seniors with the in-home care services and support they need and the kind, caring, and qualified senior care staff they want. And, we go the extra mile when it comes to the little things that can brighten the days of those we serve. Contact us today to learn more.

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