How Music Can Help People Living with Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias

If you care for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, and are looking for ways to help them cope with loss in memory and brain function, you’ll want to know about a program called Music & Memory. 

This unique program piggybacks on research about music, and its emotional and behavioral benefits. Studies show music can activate regions of the brain affected by conditions such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, but to be most useful, the music needs to be personalized to the taste of individuals. One main objective is to improve quality of life, similar to the goal of palliative care.

How does Music & Memory work for people with memory loss?

Whether your loved one lives in a nursing home, or at home with family and other caregivers, she or he may experience improved emotions and behaviors by listening to familiar music. The team behind Music & Memory has found that playing someone’s favorite music from an earlier and happier time in their life transports them back to that period. 

With that evidence, Music & Memory provides patients with iPods, headphones, and sometimes speakers, loaded with playlists tailored for the individual, based on that person’s history. Caregivers also can make changes to create new playlists, and are taught how to do this. The ultimate goal is to improve care, bring joy to patients’ lives, and help people regain parts of themselves they thought were lost.

Learn more

Listen to the podcast to learn more about Music & Memory, and its impact on those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. For more details about the program or things that you can do at home, click here

For more information about the role of palliative care for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, read here and here.

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