Lou Zimmerman visits his elderly mother as often as he can. She is battling dementia and he finds, that her mood improves when she is interacting with other people.
“The fact that she’s here with people that keep her engaged though the day,” says Zimmerman, “It’s very valuable. And it keeps her motivated and active.”
At Augustus Cottage, a Memory Care Neighborhood within American Senior Communities-caregivers use music regularly to help patients stay engaged. Research shows music works.
“The neuro pathways to the brain, the area that houses the music library, is typically not affected by Alzheimer’s disease,” says Vickie Greeno of American Senior Communities. “Helping those musical memories resurface is a way to really help meet their emotional needs as well as improve overall mood status.”
Vickie and her staff frequently use drum circles with their clients. Karaoke is a big hit too. Music has a magical quality and it can soothe nerves.
“If we have an individual in a moment of upset,” says Greeno, “then we may provide them with a personalized music list and some headsets that will allow them to decompress and reset. They are then able to move on with the remainder of their day.”
The Mayo Clinic reports that listening to or singing music can provide emotional and behavioral benefits for people with Alzheimer’s disease. And at the website alzstore.com, music for Alzheimer’s patients is so important that that site is creating their own cd’s and dvd’s to work with faith based music of all denominations. It’s estimated around 50 million people have dementia worldwide and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year.
Music therapy can help. Just ask Lou Zimmerman.
“It’s really a good experience to be able to sit with your mother and see her having a good time,”
For more information on Alzheimer’s and music therapy click on the link below.