Welcome back to our Ellijay-area assisted living and memory care blog where we strive to pass along our love and professional knowledge to all of you caring for special needs loved ones at home. In last week’s blog post we covered “Ways to Make Your Assisted Living or Dementia Loved One Smile”. To our great reward, a reader reached out and shared her story about how she employs the magic of music in the daily care of her Alzheimer’s mom. She suggested we follow last week’s post with one focused on how music can be a tremendous therapy for our assisted living and memory care loved ones. We will do just that.
The following are the scientifically-proven ways that music can improve the quality of life for those dealing with Alzheimer’s.
People of all ages and stages of life can relate to hearing a song from a different time in life and being taken right back in time. Songs can ignite a sense of nostalgia unlike any other mechanism.
Additionally, music (whether new or familiar) evokes emotion. Listening to a particular song can bring up memories of a spouse, children, grandchildren, or even a well-loved hobby or career.
When coupled with activities of daily living (ADLs), music can help to trigger memories associated with each activity. After some time, listening to the same song during the same activity can help bolster your loved one’s cognitive abilities throughout each activity.
Agitation, anger, and delusions can become a daily occurrence for those dealing with Alzheimer’s. Listening to music or playing a musical instrument has been shown to increase levels of endorphins that help elevate overall mood and even improve sleep. Music can become a powerful tool for calming your loved one and turning around a foul mood quickly.
Lowers Stress Levels
Seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease can experience ever-increasing stress levels, which can cause isolation, boredom, and depression. Stress is also a strong contributor to agitation and anger. Turning on your loved one’s favorite tunes has been proven to lower stress levels and brighten moods while helping them feel more relaxed and at ease.
One of the common side effects of Alzheimer’s is the inability to sleep for longer periods of time, leading to interrupted sleep patterns and a disrupted circadian rhythm. Due to music’s calming effect, it has been proven to improve sleep for seniors living with Alzheimer’s. Thanks to the release of endorphins that are released when your loved one listens to their favorite songs, their body will produce more melatonin and help them get a better night’s rest.
It’s important to note that many other complications can arise for seniors that aren’t getting enough sleep, so prioritizing rest is very important.
Stimulates The Mind
Seniors with Alzheimer’s should be engaging their brain in stimulating activity on a daily basis. Studies show that listening to music activates a large portion of the brain, surprisingly, not just the area responsible for music and singing. In fact, listening to music seems to activate the right side of the brain and even spark activity in the left side of the brain, as well.
With this added stimulation, many seniors with Alzheimer’s find that they can think more clearly than usual while listening to music.
We said it last week and we’ll say it again. All of us at Ellijay’s assisted living community and our Ellijay Memory Care community are your biggest fans and wish you nothing but happiness and true reward for your selfless support of others.