Canadian researchers exposed 20 people with early-stage Alzheimer’s or signs of cognitive impairment to music and performed MRI scans to track brain activity. They noticed more stimulation in parts of the brain affecting emotion, language processing, movement, and memory. Several other studies have produced similar results, which is why we’re going to focus on some of the specific benefits associated with music for aging adults with Alzheimer’s.
Enhanced Mood and Reduced Stress
Music, especially anything that’s familiar to your senior loved one, can contribute to a boost in mood. This happens because music increases the production of melatonin, serotonin, epinephrine, and other brain chemicals that play a role in elevating mood. Therefore, you may be able to put on some of your loved one’s favorite music during times of the day when he or she tends to experience increased agitation, stress, or anxiety to help him or her remain calm and focused.
It’s important for older adults with Alzheimer’s to minimize their stress so they can maintain their health. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Edmonton, AB, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
A Natural Rhythm
When paired with daily activities, the natural rhythm of music can help aging adults with Alzheimer’s associate memories with those activities. They might also recall doing similar activities in the past. This type of recollection may make it easier to help your loved one with the various routines and activities he or she does on a regular basis.
Not surprisingly, music has the power to bring back memories, which can be especially beneficial for older adults with Alzheimer’s who may be having difficulty recalling cherished moments and memories. By putting on meaningful music for your loved one, you may also be able to bond more with him or her by:
• Listening to any stories or memories that pop into his or her head as music is played, even if they’re totally random recollections
• Going through family photo albums together while listening to music to see what kind of memories are sparked
• Using certain songs to trigger specific memories—e.g., “This is the song that was played at your 50th wedding anniversary. What do you remember about that day?”
Emotional and Physical Closeness
During the later stages of Alzheimer’s, your loved one may reach a point where he or she is no longer able to verbalize emotions and feelings. However, if your loved one is still ambulatory, music can be a way for you to share emotions without words as you dance or sway to the beat together.
Widespread Brain Stimulation
The ability to respond to music is associated with right-brain functions, but processing things like tempo and melody stimulates areas in the other side of the brain. This dual stimulation allows aging adults with Alzheimer’s to use more of their brain’s power, which could help them retain certain cognitive abilities longer.
If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of at-home care. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.
Musical Recognition/Appreciation Remains in Place
Musical appreciation and aptitude are two of the last abilities seniors with Alzheimer’s have. For this reason, music can be an excellent way to reach your loved one even after the disease has affected other capabilities. Fortunately, there are many ways to help your loved one enjoy music as he or she goes through the various stages of Alzheimer’s. Possibilities include:
• Putting on a favorite radio station
• Playing songs on an mp3 player or record/CD player
• Watching movie musicals your loved one likes
• Encouraging your loved one to play an instrument he or she used to play
• Showing your loved one how to play simple songs on instruments that are easy to use, like a handheld drum or tambourine
Seniors with Alzheimer’s have much to gain when their families opt for professional Alzheimer’s care. Edmonton families can rely on compassionate and dedicated caregivers to help their elderly loved ones manage the various challenges of Alzheimer’s disease so they can enjoy a higher quality of life. To find out how we can help your loved one enjoy a higher quality of life, call Home Care Assistance today at (780) 490-7337.