Nowadays, music is more accessible than ever before. For individuals who carry smartphones or tablets along with them every place they go, hundreds of thousands – if not tens of millions of songs – are just a couple of touches or finger swipes away. If you provide care for an elderly individual, your smartphone may become one of the most useful tools in your possession for helping an older adult thrive by awakening his or her spirit with music. This broadly circulated video from the Alive Inside documentary demonstrates just how tremendously effective music therapy for dementia patients and older adults with restricted capabilities can be.
With massive musical libraries obtainable from places like iTunes, Pandora, Rhapsody, Spotify, and numerous others, we can now obtain music, in many instances for free, in a wide range of genres in just seconds. Caretakers can ask clients or family members what sorts of music the older person enjoyed throughout his or her lifetime. The music a senior might have enjoyed might be specific to a particular period of time, like Big Band music, or it may be distinctive to his or her religious affiliations, like gospel or hymns, for instance. The kind of music enjoyed during someone’s life could also depend on the person’s ethnic background – like those who enjoy salsa or reggae. An older adult may also have enjoyed popular favorites like jazz, classical, blues, country, folk, and so on. Whatever the musical preference, availability to music could have powerful benefits for people with dementia.
Have you ever listened to a song on the radio and it took you back to another time in your life? Studies have shown that music is powerfully related to personal memories. Our brains are actually hard-wired to connect music with long-term memories. This is the case even for those with moderate to severe dementia. Music & Memory is a non-profit organization that brings personalized music into the lives of older adults through digital music technology, dramatically enhancing quality of life. The team at Music & Memory trains caretakers for the elderly and teaches family members how to generate and work with personalized playlists with digital devices in order to allow those who have dementia and other challenges to reconnect with the world through music-triggered recollections.
Studies have also revealed that hearing music that is familiar and well-loved can help in reducing anxiety levels and improve concentration on the current moment, which then helps those with dementia connect to others around them. At Live Well at Home, providing senior care in Sacramento, CA, our intent is always to enhance the quality of life for older adults with the home care services and support they need and the friendly, thoughtful, and qualified senior care staff they desire. And, we go the extra mile when it comes to the small things that can brighten up the days of those we serve. Contact us today to learn more.