Playing Music for a Senior with Dementia

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Music is both an art and a unique tool that caregivers can use to enrich the lives of loved ones diagnosed with dementia. Numerous studies have shown that music can improve the mood, behavior and health of dementia patients and can even increase their cognitive function. Music therapy helps relieve caregiver stress as well. If you or an aging loved one is in need of specialized dementia care in Greater Hartford, the following tips can help ensure you take advantage of music’s multiple benefits.

Choose Music Associated with Happy Memories

If possible, engage in a conversation with your loved one about music that he or she identifies with happy times and pleasant memories, such as music played at a high school prom or at a wedding reception. Ask about favorite musical productions and movies. Use simply phrased questions like “Who’s your favorite singer?” Avoid choosing any music associated with unpleasant moments, even if the tunes themselves are upbeat.

For patients in later stage of dementia, you can try playing different songs that were popular during their younger years and watch for positive reactions. Family and friends can be good sources for suggestions as well. If your aging loved one is in the later stages of dementia and you can no longer manage their care effectively, click here for information about professional in-home dementia care services in Greater Hartford.

Pick the Right Medium in the Right Setting

A dementia patient may love Broadway show tunes, but may be overwhelmed by a night at the theater. Introduce music in a setting in which your loved one will be comfortable. A CD of favorite songs is often a better choice than turning on the radio. Patients can find radio commercials and announcers irritating or confusing. For a real treat, bring out an old phonograph that can play vinyl records and invite other family members to participate in an evening of music. Shared musical experiences offer opportunities to strength bonds and connections.

Combining Music with Physical Activities

Combining music with physical activities like walking or dancing can help a dementia patient remain physically fit. Be careful not to over do it, however and watch for signs of sensory overload. Keep an assortment of musical selections on hand, so you can vary the tempo according to your loved one’s mood. Even when patients have lost the ability to communicate through conversation, music can help them keep in touch with the happier times of their lives.

For more information on caregiving, contact Home Care Assistance of Greater Hartford today at 860-372-4500 and learn how our professional Greater Hartford caregivers can help enhance quality of life for your aging loved one.