Dementia can have a tremendous impact on the person living with it, but also their family and loved ones. There are many types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, and the symptoms differ between each type. However, because dementia affects the brain, one of the most common symptoms is noticeable memory loss and having difficulty with tasks that they could do with ease before their diagnosis.
There are many different techniques that you can use to alleviate the symptoms of dementia, which can help ease the challenges faced by someone who is living with the condition, and those closest to them. It has been found that music can have an influence on dementia, it can work towards ‘unlocking’ memories and reaching parts of the brain which other forms of communication cannot.
Using music within dementia care
Music can be an incredibly useful tool when caring for someone living with dementia. It can help to calm someone, change their mood, connect with others and even reduce the feelings of isolation often associated with dementia. Playing soothing or familiar music can result in an emotional reaction, which can be explained through the initial development of the brain.
“We know that the auditory system of the brain is the first to fully function at 16 weeks, which means that you are musically receptive long before anything else,” explains Professor Paul Robertson, a concert violinist who later went on to study the connection between music and dementia. “So, it’s a case of first in last out when it comes to a dementia-type breakdown of memory.”
This means that someone with dementia loses their most recent memories first, and they remember their oldest memories most strongly. To start, you could try playing your loved one a song that once meant a lot to them. This could be the music they had their first dance to, a favourite song from their youth, or one that might remind them of a special occasion.
It is important to remember to watch their reaction as the music plays. If they appear to be uncomfortable or agitated, turn the music off. It could be down to something as simple as the wrong song choice, or perhaps they are not in the right frame of mind, so try it again at a later time with another genre of music or a different time of day.
As research shows, using music when caring for an individual with dementia can not only help the individual to feel genuinely relaxed and comforted, but it can also help you to understand the progression of their condition and what makes them feel happy.
Here at Unicare, we believe that dementia care at home can provide you and your loved ones with the tools you need to live comfortably at home, with more time to spend together as a family. Whether you think they’d benefit from some companionship, or perhaps your loved one would like some support getting out of the house, our person-centred care is tailored around you and your needs.
For more information, please call 0208 239 6877 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will call you.