Music for Dementia.
We should all be aware of the effects of dementia, whether you know someone who has it or not. If not, you can find out all about it here. The effects of dementia can be devastating not only to the person living with it, but to the rest of the family too. Some symptoms may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they have become severe enough to affect daily life. They can also have mood changes, but when you play music for people living with dementia, those mood changes are positive!
What to Play.
The best music to play is songs from their younger days, perhaps when they were teenagers, or a particular era that they may have spoken about. Songs such as Amazing Grace, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, or You Are My Sunshine. Did they like Elvis, or maybe the Rat Pack? Special songs will hold special memories, and will evoke different emotions in your loved one. Think hard about memories of when you were younger, what songs did they sing or listen to all the time? If you can’t remember, you can always ask, or sing a few lines to see their reaction. During stressful times, of which there are bound to be many, play some soothing music to calm your loved one. Perhaps some soft classical music, or something without a lot of base.
This excerpt was taken from www.ageuk.org.uk where you can read more about some of the amazing results and continuing studies:
Professor Paul Robertson recalls playing for a former church organist with advanced dementia. ‘She was very far gone, no language, no recognition. Someone started singing a hymn and this woman sat down at the piano, found the right key and accompanied the singer in perfect order.’
Paul Robertson also says:
‘We tend to remain contactable as musical beings on some level right up to the very end of life,’
‘We know that the auditory system of the brain is the first to fully function at 16 weeks, which means that you are musically receptive long before anything else. So it’s a case of first in, last out when it comes to a dementia-type breakdown of memory.’
Music for dementia has such an incredible impact in such a positive way, because music really is good for you soul.
Songs about dementia.
X Factor star Lucy Spraggan wrote a song called ‘All That I’ve Loved (For Barbara)’ – inspired by her wife’s grandma who has dementia. The words in this song are very powerful and true.
‘The waitress wandered across from the kitchen, she was ever so slightly singing, a song he once knew such a beautiful tune and he wished that he knew it once more’
You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uLi30syZk0
We’d love to hear your success stories.
Have you experienced a positive outcome to sharing music with a friend or family member with dementia or any kind of condition that affects the brain? We’d love to hear your story, you can send us a message, or email us at [email protected]