Henry’s mind is deteriorating, but underneath the dust, there is still a person – a person who lived a full life and loved music, his family and God, but in his old age it can be hard to see that sometimes. The exception is when there is music:
Luckily, Henry was a beneficiary of a nonprofit called Music & Memory that gives seniors living in nursing homes an iPod with their favorite music on it. A documentary was done with their help to show the profound effect music can have on those living with dementia and Alzheimer’s. If you would like to help, you can donate an iPod.
As we all know from hearing that song associated with a first love or leaving home for good, music is profoundly linked to personal memories.
In fact, our brains are hard-wired to connect music with long-term memory.
Even for persons with severe dementia, music can tap deep emotional recall. For individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s, memory for things—names, places, facts—is compromised, but memories from our teenage years can be well-preserved.
Favorite music or songs associated with important personal events can trigger memory of lyrics and the experience connected to the music. Beloved music often calms chaotic brain activity and enables the listener to focus on the present moment and regain a connection to others.
Persons with dementia, Parkinson’s and other diseases that damage brain chemistry also reconnect to the world and gain improved quality of life from listening to personal music favorites.
Music & Memory’s caregiver page helps to spread knowledge on how caregivers can do the same thing for their loved ones:
As someone who provides care for your loved one at home, you need all the support you can get. We hope you will take advantage of the therapeutic benefits of personalized music and set up an iPod playlist for your loved one. You’re likely to experience a dramatic change in her ability to connect with you and the rest of the world, and you’ll also regain needed time for yourself while she enjoys her music.
You’ll find everything you need by downloading our free resource guide:
Creating Opportunities for Joy
Music is a unique and wonderful way to connect with your elderly loved ones. Besides music, you can use old photo albums to trigger long term memories that might turn into stories and conversations that were locked away, waiting for the right key. Connecting with friends for social events and activities is another way to open eyes and create smiles.
As caregivers, we know that it can be hard for friends and family to facilitate these moments. You have responsibilities and a long list of to-dos that are required in order to fulfill them. If you haven’t had a moment like Henry’s recently, we can help. We enjoy flipping through photo albums and seeing and/or hearing the recollection of fond memories. Some of us can even sing and play the piano. We have a caregiver who plays daily for a female client with Alzheimer’s. The performance makes her glow and be at peace and she doesn’t let her stop.
By allowing us to handle some of your caregiving responsibilities, you will have more quality time to spend with your loved one. If you would like to see what we can do for you and your loved one, give us a call for a free in-home assessment.