A recent study found Alzheimer patients could slow memory loss by listening to their favorite music. When they listened to their favorite music from the past, the music invoked powerful images and memories that help thwart the devastating destruction taking place in their brain.
It seems that music and memories share the same area of the brain, and when people hear their favorite music from long ago, they recall powerful memories of the past.
Mom and music
My mother was in a nursing home due to TIA dementia. Every once in a while a group of musicians would come to the home to entertain the patients. One day when our family came to visit, we looked into the commons room and she was sitting across the room near several musicians who were playing old time ’40’s and 50’s dance music.
Mom was smiling and bobbing her head in time with the music. This was far into her dementia, not long before she died. By the look on her face, the music was reaching her at a deeper level than we could ever realize.
She and Dad met through music; Dad called square dances and for a while had his own band. They danced every opportunity they could. Listening to the music that day brought joy and happiness. For a time after that she seemed to be happier and more alert than she had previously been for a while.
Play your loved one’s favorite music
As a caregiver or family member, try playing music relevant to your loved one’s earlier life and see what affect it may have on their ability to remember, or at least see if they connect with the music.
Are they moving to the music in a way that appears as if they have a memory connected with what they are hearing?
If you routinely play music, has that helped their memory or attention span?
Let us know what has worked for you and your family. We are interested in your experience.