Advice Memory Care

How Does Music Help Boost Brain Activity?

Senior man listening to music on headphones

Music offers a variety of benefits  for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, research has found. For instance, music can help reduce agitation, depression and anxiety, and it can lower stress levels.

Why is music such a powerful tool for individuals with Alzheimer’s? Researchers believe that interacting with music — whether singing or listening to favorite tunes — has such an impact because the disease often spares key brain functions connected to musical memory. In addition, music may boost mental performance and memory  in individuals with dementia.

Music also can reduce anxiety among caregivers. If you have a loved one with dementia, you may find that music helps you connect and communicate more effectively.

At New Pond Village, we believe music plays a key role in enhancing quality of life for residents with memory impairment. What are some of the ways music boosts brain activity, and how do we incorporate music into daily life in New Pond Village memory care?

Recalling emotions

Even when Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia have eroded communication and other abilities, musical appreciation and aptitude often remain. As a result, music can provide an effective way to connect with individuals with dementia, including in advanced cases.

Neurologists note that music can bring back memories and feelings about past events, which helps individuals recall details and can help improve cognitive skills over time.

Reducing stress

Research has found that music can help manage stress, agitation and negative moods. It can also help coordination in individuals with deterioration of movement. Because music requires a low level of cognitive functioning, even individuals with severe impairment can participate and benefit.

Connecting and sharing

As it helps individuals with dementia recall pleasant memories and feelings, music also can encourage physical and emotional closeness. Music activates major portions of the brain, with listening to music affecting activity in the right side and singing impacting the left.

You may find that a loved one in the later stage of dementia will dance and becomes more affectionate in the presence of music. Expressions of affection, such as hugging, can make your family member feel more secure, which can encourage the recall of more memories.

Making music a part of daily life

At New Pond Village, we make music part of every day with residents in our memory care neighborhood. By taking steps to identify appropriate music — including music that is familiar, encourages movement and creates a positive mood — we use music as a tool to stimulate memory and personal connections.

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