Many people are already aware of the benefits that music can have on our wellbeing, but this is particularly so with older people and for anyone who has a dementia like Alzheimer’s. Therapists have found that music can help people to engage, ease stress and uplift moods, often when all else fails.
Neurologist Oliver Sacks states, ‘musical memory somehow survives the ravages of disease, and even in people with advanced dementia, music can often reawaken personal memories and associations that are otherwise lost.’
Activity Coordinators in care homes and day centres can use music in the following ways:
- Sing-along sessions – choose easy to remember lyrics that will create a sense of comfort and encourage reminiscence. Why not have a ‘Movie Night’ with one of our classic singalong DVDs. Choose from Oklahoma, The Wizard of Oz or South Pacific. Each displays easy to follow highlighted words to the songs at the foot of the screen (also a ‘songs only’ section).
- Rhythmic participation – encourage participants to tap, clap or use percussion instruments to play along with well-known songs or tunes. Especially good for anyone with shaky or restless hands. Our Percussion Set is ideal for this, 9 different instruments including: maracas, bell shakers, tambourine etc.
- Mood enhancing music – soft classical music or lullabies can reduce stress and anxiety in a range of situations. These are particularly good for calming sometimes troublesome activities such as bathing or dressing in elderly people with a dementia. Abide with Me is a double CD set of 50 gentle hymns that will soothe any situation.
- Stimulating music for exercise – swing, rock and roll and salsa music can inspire dance and movement in older people – helping them to have some much-needed exercise. Singing along can also help with breathing and can make the activity more enjoyable for all. Why not stretch and tone to the beats of 100 Party Favourites double CD and songbook set – guaranteed to create a party atmosphere anywhere!
Why not ask the person or loved one about their favourite music? This may often lead to them opening up about personal experiences that are connected to a particular piece of music or song. Other family members may also be able to recall music that was special to their loved one, especially in the case with those who have a dementia like Alzheimer’s.