Dementia doesn’t just affect individuals; it has an impact on entire families. If you have a loved one who is suffering from dementia, you understand how important care and therapy is. Dementia care is always advancing, and one thing you may not have considered yet is music therapy.
Music therapy has become an important aspect of dementia care and therapy. The evolution of dementia care means that it’s no longer exclusively focused on assisted living.
In the past, dementia care was based on caring for the physical symptoms of dementia and memory loss: reduced mobility and coordination, assistance with dressing, feeding, bathing, and transferring, and assistance with transportation. While assisted living retirement residences provide this kind of care, they are increasingly using other types of therapy to improve the emotional and mental well-being of seniors with dementia.
Music therapy is a therapeutic intervention designed to evoke positive memories and promote a sense of self among seniors with dementia. It can take place individually or within a group, and it can involve simply listening to curated music designed to evoke positive memories from the senior’s youth or involve actively making live music as a form of self-expression.
One of the reasons music therapy can be such a powerful treatment is that it brings seniors with dementia out of the isolation that Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related illnesses can impose. Music therapy can reduce stress, ease anxiety, and improve cognitive function.
Patients who have received music therapy saw improvements in both their physical and mental well-being, including:
- Positive mood changes and emotions
- An improved sense of control over life
- Pain and discomfort management without using medications
- Stimulated curiosity
Music therapy is practiced by certified music therapists (MTAs) in a therapeutic context.
Why is music therapy so effective and so important for seniors with dementia? Processing music requires all parts of the brain. As Alzheimer’s progresses, there are still large parts of the brain that remain intact, including the hippocampus, a part of the brain that stores long-term memories. Music can activate those long-term memories – you see it when seniors with dementia who may have lost the ability to communicate effectively suddenly sing along to a song they memorized in their teens.
If your family is at a point where you’re looking for an assisted living retirement residence for a loved with dementia, find out if they offer music therapy as part of their care. Dementia care facilities offer numerous therapies, including sensory rooms (also known as a Snoezelen room or multi-sensory environment) and music therapy. If you’re interested in different types of therapeutic treatments, click here to learn more about music therapy as it’s practiced for seniors with dementia.
As a family, one of the best ways you can support a loved one with dementia is to find an assisted living retirement residence that practices therapies like music therapy. Don’t stop at assisted living. Music therapy and many new innovative therapies can improve the quality of life of your loved one. Talk to retirement residences and learn more about music therapy today.