Update on Coronavirus / COVID-19 and senior safety, click here for more information.

How Music Can Benefit Aging Adults with Alzheimer’s

By , 9:00 am on

Through years of study and experience, researchers, physicians, and caregivers have learned about the benefits seniors with Alzheimer’s experience when listening to music. Elderly individuals with Alzheimer’s can respond to music regardless of the extent of their cognitive impairment, and music has the potential to stimulate many different areas of the brain.

Stabilizes Mood

Researchers from the University of Miami School of Medicine conducted a study to evaluate the effects of music therapy on people with Alzheimer’s. Results showed that when study participants listened to music, their brains released melatonin, serotonin, and prolactin—substances known as feel-good chemicals. The scientists also observed how the seniors’ moods increased when listening to music, and some of the participants exhibited enhanced cognitive function. 

In 2014, a group of researchers documented the effects of music on elderly residents at 98 nursing homes. Over the course of the study, more than 20 percent of the seniors undergoing music therapy benefited to such a degree that their antipsychotic medications were discontinued. In the long-term care facilities where residents weren’t routinely exposed to music, their moods and need for medications remained unchanged. 

Without the right assistance, Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors and their families to handle. If you’re looking for professional Alzheimer’s care, West Hartford Home Care Assistance provides high-quality care aging adults and their families can count on. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers are trained to help seniors with Alzheimer’s live happier and healthier lives, and we also provide specialized dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. 

Stimulates Memory

Listening to music triggers the medial prefrontal cortex in the brain, which is responsible for processing, storing, and retrieving memories. This region is one of the last to be affected by Alzheimer’s, which explains why music can affect older adults during all phases of the disease. Scientists from the University of California who studied the correlation between music and memory discovered the way a person with Alzheimer’s responds to particular songs can depend on the events that occurred in his or her life when those songs were popular. Seniors also exhibited positive responses more frequently when they heard music that was popular when they were between 18 and 25 years old.

Boosts Cognition

Singing along with familiar music can enhance cognitive health. Listening to music triggers both sides of the brain, and singing activates the right side of the brain. Imaging studies revealed visual centers of the brain also come to life when singing. Encourage your loved one to sing, dance, or play an instrument, as these activities stimulate multiple regions and functions of the brain simultaneously.

A professional caregiver with training and experience in cognitive stimulation can be a wonderful resource for a senior with Alzheimer’s. Though you may be researching multiple agencies that provide elder care, West Hartford, CT, Home Care Assistance has much to offer your family and your elderly loved one. We are leaders in the senior home care industry, offering proprietary programs like our holistic Balanced Care Method and around-the-clock assistance from reliable, experienced caregivers. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your loved one enjoy a happier and healthier life in the golden years.

Encourages Social Interaction

Along with the prefrontal cortex, music stimulates the amygdala, which plays a role in mood and emotion. Listening to familiar music releases the hormone oxytocin, which stimulates a need to connect with others. Thus, listening to favorite tunes and singing beloved songs together provides the ideal opportunity for family members to connect with a cognitively impaired loved one. While hearing favorite or familiar music, seniors with Alzheimer’s are often better able to remember their own identities, which may pave the way for them to recognize and remember their relationships with family members and other loved ones. 

There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading West Hartford senior care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life. Call Home Care Assistance at (860) 372.4500 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.