On a recent episode of The Doctors, Rita Altman, SVP of Memory Care and Program Services, shared how music is one of the most meaningful and powerful ways of connecting with an individual living with Alzheimer’s disease or related form of dementia.
Research has shown that the brain processes music in multiple areas of the brain, and even parts of the brain that Alzheimer’s can’t touch. “In many ways, music can outsmart Alzheimer’s,” says Rita.
While your loved one may no longer be able to recall every detail from events in the past, certain songs and types of music can stimulate the brain to help recall emotions and memories. For instance, if your mother never missed a day of church, playing certain hymns may invoke memories of attending Sunday services.
For those caring for someone experiencing memory loss, Rita encourages caregivers to learn their loved one’s favorite songs and genres and to play or sing along with them. Doing so has been shown to “decrease anxiety and increase a feeling of well-being and dignity, which is so important,” says Rita.
Using music in memory care is also one of the most powerful non-verbal Validation techniques. Naomi Feil, M.S.W, who developed the Validation technique was able to make a remarkable connection with a woman experiencing memory loss who was no longer verbal, yet her response to hearing Gospel music (her favorite kind of music) was a powerful example of Validation, as she was able to finish a verse of the song.
Have a question for Rita about music and memory care, or just memory care in general? Post your question in the comments below for consideration in an upcoming blog post.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living