Memory and mood in people with dementia improve when their caregivers encourage and help them take part in regular musical leisure pursuits such as singing or listening to music.
- Singing benefits early stages, music listening later stages: The most benefit for working memory, executive function and orientation came from singing – especially in patients with mild dementia and those under 80 years of age. And for patients with more advanced forms of dementia, it was music listening that led to the most cognitive benefits.
- Musical background of patient made no difference: “Given the increasing global prevalence and burden of dementia and the limited resources in public health care for persons with dementia and their family caregivers,” says Dr. Särkämö, “it is important to find alternative ways to maintain and stimulate cognitive, emotional and social well-being in this population.” And he notes: “Especially stimulating and engaging activities, such as singing, seem to be very promising for maintaining memory functioning in the early stages of dementia.”
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“Music therapy is a non-threatening form of intervention. It helps people open up. We’ve seen many people benefit, including those suffering from forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s. We’ve also seen evidence of music helping in neurological rehabilitation as people relearn a gait and learn to speak again after a stroke.” – Al Bumanis
Original article written by: Catharine Paddock PhD