Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s and Music: One Way to Create an Uplifting Visit
Needless to say, it’s heartbreaking to witness let alone care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease. And, as time goes on, the disease progresses, making it harder and harder for the patient to connect with the outside world. Often times, the best and only practical solution for care is to send the person you love to a facility that accommodates patients with severe memory loss. Your loved one has been slipping away mentally for quite some time. Now, you’re facing the physical separation as well.
However, amidst the sadness, there is perhaps some good news. Many studies have shown that the parts of the brain responsible for remembering music are either not affected at all or aren’t nearly as affected as other parts of the brain in patients with Alzheimer’s. So, what does this mean for a visit to try to connect positively with your loved one?
It means to turn on the tunes, but not just any tunes. Instead, try to find music that the patient prefers. In fact, according to neuroscientist and author Daniel J. Levitin in his book This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, due to certain aspects of the brain’s hard wiring, most people prefer music that was popular during their teenage years. So, do the math if necessary and look up what people were listening to when your family member or friend was, say, age 16.
Many people, too, whether or not it was popular in their teens, prefer certain musical styles like jazz, classical, opera, heavy metal, reggae or musical theater. So, you may do well simply sticking with a favorite genre. Does your loved one enjoy singing? Then sing! In any case, music may very well create a lot fun and light in the midst of what could otherwise be a grave situation.
Whether this all sounds too good to be true or not, here are some stories of success with favorite music for people who’ve lost much of their memory:
Bridgeway Senior Care and Rehabilitation
395 Amwell Rd.
Hillsborough, NJ 08444
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