Music and Dementia

Music can have powerful effects on people with dementia. Using music in optimal ways can make a real difference in their moods, ability to function and in stimulating memory.

ComForCare/At Your Side uses music when caring for people with dementia, applying it in the most effective ways. However, not all music is equal in its ability to enhance and improve life for people with dementia. Also, the way music is delivered should be considered. Here are three tips for getting the best results.

  • Use music to calm. The right music can prevent or reduce anxiety and agitation for people with dementia. Choose gentle melodies to help set the mood in a calm way.
  • Use music to energize. Some people with dementia have trouble getting going in the morning, or being motivated to do physical activity. Sing or play upbeat, rousing music to get their juices flowing, particularly music that has a strong rhythm.
  • Sing along. Lyrics of songs are stored in the brain and retrieved differently than words not associated with music or rhythm. Sing to help the person with dementia get started on the lyrics. You might be surprised how well they recall the words to songs from their youth!

Music is a wonderful tool for helping people with dementia lead better, happier lives. It impacts the brain in people with dementia so powerfully, that some who can no longer speak due to their condition can still sing. Music can also spur recall and sharing of memories from the past.