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The Power of Music and Dementia Care

Did you know that listening to music, in all forms, is linked to benefits for people with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia? This is because musical memories are often preserved in the brain of Alzheimer's disease patients. The music receptive brain areas are often not a part of the disease.

There is a lot of evidence that listening to music helps Alzheimer's sufferers recall past events and feel more optimistic overall. Is this really true? Learn more about the significance of music and dementia in the article below. 

What is Dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term for a disease and/or conditions that result in a decrease or loss in memory. With a loss of memory often comes the loss of language, problem-solving and other thinking skills usually in various stages.

How is Alzheimer's disease related to dementia? Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia. It is a progressive brain disease that impairs memory and cognitive function. 

It is difficult to diagnosis Alzheimer's disease with 100% certainty while a patient is alive. However, 90% of Alzheimer's disease diagnoses are correct. 

There is no known cure for dementia. However, there are different types of therapy such as treating dementia with music to help. 

Music and Dementia 

Dementia research suggests that music has positive effects on dementia patients. These benefits can include:

  • Relieved stress in patients
  • Reduced anxiety and/or depression
  • Reduced agitation

Music often improves a patient's mood and shifts interactions with others to positive ones. 

While music cannot cure dementia, it may make living with the disease more pleasant. Music can also help caregivers of dementia patients. Many caregivers are under a lot of physical and emotional stress.

Music may also evoke memories or emotions in patients. While it's not a guarantee, music is often a trigger for emotions that can bring back memories. You can use specific songs during activities daily to implement a routine.

How to Start Music Therapy for Alzheimer's Patients 

If you're ready to start a music and dementia therapy program consider thinking about your loved one's music preferences. Create a playlist that consists of their favorite songs and artists. You can also include special songs such as songs from their wedding or first concert.

Creating a music therapy playlist is a great time to involve other family, friends, and loved ones. Ask for others to submit songs that they have fond memories of with the Alzheimer's patient.

If you are uncomfortable working on a music therapy program with your patient, consider hiring a professional

When starting a new music therapy approach remember to take it slow. Carefully observe your patient or loved one while the music is playing. It's important to remember to avoid overstimulation for dementia patients.

Music and Alzheimer's Therapy

Are you interested in working with music and dementia? If you'd like to start at home therapy for your loved one Elite Home Heath Care has the resources you need. 

Contact us today to bring the quality care of a nursing facility with the added personal touch of having your own caregiver at home.


Written by: Leah Ganz
Director of Patient Services

Leah Ganz, RN, BSN is the Director of Patient Services at Elite Home Health Care. She has an extensive background in homecare and previously worked in various specialties including pediatrics, pain managemnet and internal medicine. She oversees allpatient services across Elite's departments.