A person living with dementia can often struggle to communicate, in addition to memory and cognitive blocks. But recent studies have suggested that music therapy is incredibly effective for seniors living with dementia. Music therapy can involve official signing groups in care homes, or just listening to music that may ignite some nostalgia. Here’s why music therapy benefits seniors with dementia:
- Communication: Music aids in the use of all the muscles used in communication – mouth/jaw, diaphragm exercise, facial expression, neck/shoulders, full body movement.
- Cognition: Singing along, or even just physically enjoying music, requires the brain to be challenged to remember the music. Repetition of favourite tunes is a great exercise for the brain.
- Engagement: Music can be a very powerful tool for expressing and engaging with emotions.
- Confidence: Regularly participating in music, especially in a group setting, allows seniors with dementia to gain confidence through enjoying an activity and expressing themselves in music.
- Relationships: Enjoying music together, either as a group or a family, can help to strengthen relationships that struggle when a senior is suffering from dementia.
- Stress reduction: It may not be immediately obvious (because there may be difficulty expressing it), but seniors suffering from dementia are often subject to stress from the feeling of a loss of independence. Music is a fantastic stress relief for anyone.
Check your local senior centres, or local artists, to find a group that holds musical therapy. If you can’t find one – why not start one?