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All I want is loving you and MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Recently there have been many studies on the value of music as a treatment for dementia. No, it doesn't slow it or cure it, but instead brings joy to an otherwise lonely person with dementia. Left to one's own initiative, the person with Alzheimer's and related dementias has little incentive and ability to plan and carry out previously pleasurable activities. So, the care partners must provide the cues.  Music is a powerful vehicle to kindle memories of by gone days of pleasant times.
What kind of music moves you? What music comes to mind when you reminisce back to carefree days of your teen years or even early childhood? I can remember sitting on my front steps with the latest copy of Hit Parade with all the words to the then popular songs. I especially liked Pat Boone (now I'm dating myself!) and Perry Como. I would sing all the words and they became deeply imbedded in my mind. Hymns is another kind of music I grew up with. To this day, I can wake in the middle of the night, concerned about something, and a hymn pops into my head. I silently 'sing' the words and fall back to sleep, content and comforted.
Music is deeply imbedded in and hard wired in our emotional memory. It taps a particular part of the brain not damaged by dementia.
In the Alzheimer Weekly this week (subscribe to this free e-newsletter) there was a video and a trailer of a film on this subject. It pictures elders in nursing homes, weeping with joy as they listen on I-pods to their favorite music. The effect evidently is long lasting as it creates a calming effect for hours later. Try it; it is not an expensive drug.
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