Music is incredible.
It has the ability to carry ideas through time and space. It has the power to send emotions straight to the core of your mind so that you feel it in every bone. It has the ability to surpass language and communicate so much more.
And, it has the ability to keep our minds sharp and our memories alive.
This is why music therapy is now being used a vehicle to help patients with dementia.
Here’s how it can help:
Seniors don’t have to actually play an instrument to reap the benefits.
Simply listening to music can make a huge impact.
When seniors hear songs from their pasts, it often sparks something in their memories. And, can even have the ability to spark physical responses.
Dementia patients who have very little memory, can suddenly find themselves remembering ideas or emotions from their childhoods. All because of the music they hear.
Playing an instrument requires a certain amount of mental concentration and focus.
This means, that when you sit down to play an instrument you’re not just playing. You’re also working your mind.
Whether it’s an instrument you’re familiar with or an instrument you’re learning -you are exercising your mind in a whole bunch of ways. And, this is extremely beneficial to seniors with dementia. Because, when you have dementia, you want to constantly be working your mind. Keeping it active.
Playing an instrument doesn’t just exercise your mind, it also exercises your body.
Whether you’re hitting a tambourine, bowing a violin, blowing a horn, or even just clapping your hands -you’re moving your arms and fingers. And though it may seem small, it’s sometimes the small movements that keep us in the best of shape.
We don’t fully understand why, but music has a miraculous power over our emotions. It has the ability to lift our spirits, motivate us, make us cry, or make us feel happy as clams.
It also has the ability to relax us and calm us down. Which can be great for dementia patients. Especially, patients at early stages. Because it can be extremely hard to hear that you have dementia. And to accept that you might need some help.
Listening to music you love can help clear the mind, and help patients realize that everything is going to be alright.
Music is an extremely social activity. Think: orchestras, chamber groups, duets, trios, quartets. The list goes on. Because music is meant to be played and shared with others!
When seniors find out that they have dementia, they often start to recede into themselves. And, later stages of dementia can make it difficult to function in society with others. The thought of all this can sometimes make seniors seclude themselves even before the later stages hit.
Which is bad.
As social creatures, we humans need social connection.
Music gives seniors a way to easily connect with others. Because with music, it’s all about intuitive feelings. Seniors never have to worry about remembering the right word, or the right way to say something, or even how to do something.
When it comes to music, you do and play what feels right. And the result, is a language of its own that has the power to bond you to others.