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Music and Alzheimer's: Can It Help?



Answer by Jonathan Graff-Radford, M. D.

Research suggests that listening to or singing music can provide emotional and behavioral benefits to people with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. Musical memories are often preserved in Alzheimer's disease, as important brain areas associated with musical memory are relatively undamaged by the disease.

Music can, for example:

  • reduce stress
  • reduce anxiety and depression
  • reduce agitation
  • 19659007] Music can also be beneficial for caregivers by reducing anxiety and stress, lightening mood and improving mood allows a connection to loved ones with Alzheimer's disease – especially to people who have difficulty communicating.

    If you want to use music Help a family member with Alzheimer's disease with the following tips:

    • Think about your loved one's preferences. What kind of music does your relative like? Which music evokes memories of happy times in his or her life? Engage family and friends by asking them to propose songs or create playlists.
    • Set the mood. To soothe your loved one during mealtimes or morning hygiene, play music or sing a reassuring song. If you want to improve your loved one's mood, use a more optimistic or faster-running music.
    • Avoid Overstimulation. Avoid the competition noise when playing music. Turn off the TV. Close the door. Adjust the volume based on your relative's hearing. Opt for music that is not interrupted by advertising, which can lead to confusion.
    • Encourage movement. Help your lover to join in or tap his feet in tact. If possible, consider dancing with your loved one.
    • sing along. Singing to music with your loved one can improve your mood and improve your relationship. Some early studies suggest musical memory functions differently than other types of memory, and singing can help spark unique memories.
    • Pay attention to the reaction of your relative. If your relative seems to enjoy certain songs, you often play them. If your beloved person responds negatively to a particular song or music type, choose something else.

    Remember that music does not affect your loved one's cognitive status or quality of life. Further research is needed to better understand the exact implications of music and Alzheimer's disease.

    Updated: 2015-09-29

    Release date: 2015-09-29


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