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Music Therapy Month: Impacts on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

Musical intervention said to “awaken” those affected with cognitive decline

Hearing his favorite song by Cab Callaway, Henry, a man diagnosed with dementia becomes animated. He hums along to the tune, waves his arms, his eyes widen, his posture shifts, he sits upright and he softly sings along to the chorus. This is a marked difference from man who sat quiet and was barely communicative for the last 10 years.

Director of Geriatrics at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, Dr. Laura Mosqueda said that these types of “awakenings” happen because music influences so many regions of the brain. Familiar melodies may be able to “touch” parts of the brain that are not impaired by Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

During March, we celebrate Music Therapy Month. The therapy is musical intervention designed to promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, enhance memory, improve communication, and provide unique opportunities for interaction.

According to a study by the American Musical Therapy Association (AMTA), music therapy is a form a sensory stimulation because of the responses associated with the familiarity, predictability and emotions tied to moments in time. Patients were presented with recordings of their favorite music or music popular in their lifetime. Results were visibly and measurably evident.

The AMTA studies also show that music therapy provides opportunities for recall, improved mood, a sense of control, anxiety, pain and stress reduction, stimulation of movement and vocalization and increased social interactions.

At Sagora Senior Living Memory Care communities music increases comfort and decreases anxiety, while encouraging engagement, socialization and feelings of belonging.

Need information about how Memory Care communities offer solutions for caregivers? Reach out to us with questions about living options or schedule a tour at your nearest Memory Care community.

March 26, 2019
Written by Alice Warner

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