Do you ever hear a song, and it takes you back to a specific time or place?

Perhaps it triggers a memory, or simply a feeling inside of you that you can’t quite explain.

This is why many believe that music therapy can play an important role in supporting those with Alzheimer’s.

But what exactly is music therapy? And can it really have an impact on those living with Alzheimer’s?

We’re here to help answer your questions!

What is music therapy?

The NHS describes music therapy as:

“A psychological therapy that aims to facilitate positive changes in emotional wellbeing and communication through the engagement in live musical interaction between client and therapist.”.

Individuals may listen to music, sing along to their favourite pieces, attend choir sessions or play instruments.

Essentially the practice uses the power of music to enhance people’s mental and physical wellbeing. This is why music is often incorporated into Alzheimer’s patent’s therapy, as it can help to bring individuals into the present moment and engage with others. 

What are the benefits of music for those with Alzheimer’s? 

There are many benefits of listening or interacting with music for those living with Alzheimer’s.

Some of which include:

  • Helping individuals express feelings and ideas
  • Encourages participation and interactions with others
  • Promotes physical exercise in the form of dancing and moving
  • Can re-ignite special memories associated with certain songs
  • Music can help reduce heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety

The role of music into an individuals life who is living with Alzheimer’s can ultimately allow that person to communicate and express themselves when other ways of doing this become more challenging.

How can you incorporate music into a loved ones routine?

If you want to incorporate music into yours or a loved ones routine then it’s a good idea to bare the following things in mind.

Firstly select songs or pieces of music that you know the person will like as this will prompt more positive reactions. If you’re not sure of their preferences you can always Google songs that were popular when they were younger.

It’s really important that you remain attentive to individual’s reactions to music being played. If somebody starts to seem uncomfortable as the music is playing, it might be a good idea to try something slightly different. Whether you alter the genre or artist, you can start to understand what your loved one enjoys and what they don’t.

Finally, be responsive! If a person begins to hum, or sing you can always try to join in, and make them feel comfortable. If they are really enjoying themselves you could always try some gentle dance moves together.

Another great recommendation suggested by Dementia UKis to bring photographs out alongside the music as a way to reminisce together.

So why not try introducing music into yours or a loved ones routine, to see the benefits for yourself?