Music Therapy: Dementia Help to Improve Quality of Life for Seniors

Music is an intricate concept that invokes and expresses feelings that are difficult to portray in words. The right kind of music can search, find, heal, cleanse and usher you into a different realm of feeling. In the words of American physician and philosopher Debasish Mridha MD, “Music can heal the wounds medicine cannot touch.”

What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is such a diverse practice that may be hard to define. It is clinical and research-based, used to help people improve their health and quality of living.

What is Music Therapy? | My Delta Care

Several studies have shown tremendous improvement results, not only in dementia patients or people with Alzheimer’s disease. 

Music also has a reach to people with depression, anxiety and other medical disciplines like neuro-rehabilitation, creating a positive effect on cognitive function. 

The earliest known account of music therapy is in the bible, the story of David, a skilled musician who could cure King Saul’s depression when he played his harp.

How Does Music Therapy Help Dementia?

There is a strong research connection between music and memory. It has the power to stir life memories attached to emotions. It also can establish new pathways in the brain, which increases brain activity and control. This we now know thanks to recent developments in brain scanning technology. 

Music therapists use the power of music to help people with cognitive impairment to heal because of its ability to affect or change emotions.

What are the Benefits of Music Therapy for Seniors with Dementia

What are the Benefits of Music Therapy for Seniors with Dementia | My Delta Care

Music therapy is a research-proven practice, especially helpful for seniors with dementia and people with Alzheimer’s disease. These may be either long-term or short-term, both physical and emotional.

Delta Care, a local peak body in Victoria, Australia offers music therapy sessions for its elderly residents. They believe that the benefits of music therapy all play a part in battling dementia, directly or even indirectly. 

What Type of Music is Best for Dementia

As a whole, music is a product of artistry and may not be considered as treatment. But it invokes different emotions and feelings that can be considered as one alternative. 

There is no scientific answer for what music is best for dementia; however, there are a few kinds of music that would be best for dementia and people with Alzheimer’s disease.

What Type of Music is Best for Dementia Music Therapy | My Delta Care

Drumming

Rhythm-based activities such as drumming are effective tools for invoking behavioural responses. This is very evident amongst participants with dementia as it creates a memorable shared experience in the group. The experience stirs feelings of joy and adversely improves their quality of life.

Live vs recorded music

Studies show that listening to music, either live or recorded, has adverse effects on anxiety and stress in people with dementia. But the same study shows that live music is more effective than recorded music because of the physical interactive nature. In this study, music is shown to drop mean agitation in participants with dementia by 50%, which is considerably high compared to the 37% drop by massage.

Rhythmic music for physical and emotional relaxation

Research shows that music is a powerful tool in inducing relaxation. This includes positive results in both muscle relaxation and mental relaxation. While Stanford research shows that rhythmic music has the same relaxing effect as medication.

Playing instruments

As another proven music therapy technique, playing instruments engages positive muscle memory and stirs actual memories in the brain. Research shows that it also reduces the likelihood of dementia by 67%.

Singing

Singing has been a known remedy for stress and general emotional turmoil. Even just humming one familiar tune suppresses dementia symptoms and lifts spirits. The applications in musical therapy are countless, as are their effect on dementia.

Conclusion

Music therapy is perhaps the most patient-preferred type of therapy there is. For the carer, dementia patients can sometimes be difficult to care for, but something about the power of music turns the challenge into a mere experience.

If you are living in Vic, Australia and in search of a residential home with music therapy services, you can reach out to Delta Care.

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