Turn Up the Volume and Ease Dementia Symptoms

Today, music is more accessible than ever before. For individuals who carry smartphones or tablets along with them everywhere they go, hundreds of thousands – if not tens of millions of songs – are just a finger swipe away. If you are a caretaker for a senior, your smartphone can easily become one of the most valuable tools in your possession for helping an older adult thrive by awakening his or her emotional wellbeing with music. This widely circulated video from the Alive Inside documentary reveals just how tremendously powerful music can be for the elderly with limited abilities and dementia symptoms.

With extensive musical libraries readily available from places like iTunes, Pandora, Rhapsody, Spotify, and countless others, we can now come across music, in some cases for no cost, in a wide range of genres in just seconds. Caregivers can ask clients or family members what types of music the older adult enjoyed during his or her life. The music a senior may have enjoyed could be particular to a certain period of time, like Big Band music, or it could be unique to his or her religious affiliations, such as gospel or hymns, for example. The type of music enjoyed throughout someone’s life can also depend on a person’s ethnic background – such as those who enjoy salsa or reggae. The senior might also have enjoyed popular favorites such as jazz, classical, blues, country, etc. No matter what the musical inclination, accessibility to music could have significant benefits.

Have you ever heard a song on the radio and it took you instantly back to another time in your life? Studies have revealed that music is powerfully related to personal recollections. The human brain is actually hard-wired to associate music with memories. This is the case even for those who have moderate to severe dementia. Music & Memory is a non-profit organization that brings personalized music into the lives of seniors through digital music technology, dramatically enhancing quality of life. The staff at Music & Memory teach caregivers for the elderly and family members how to create and utilize personal playlists utilizing digital devices in order to enable those who have dementia and other challenges to reconnect with the world through music-triggered memories.

Research has also revealed that listening to music that is recognizable and enjoyed can help reduce anxiety levels and improve concentration on the current moment, which in turn helps older adults with dementia connect to others around them. At Home & Hearth Caregivers, our intent is always to enhance the quality of life for seniors with the in-home care services and support they need and the kind, thoughtful, and skilled senior care staff they desire. And, we go the extra mile when it comes to the small things that can improve the days of those we serve. Contact our Chicago in-home caregivers today to learn more.

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