Do you work with Alzheimer’s patients? Did you know singing, listening to, or playing music can improve their mood and help them to respond more positively? Here’s how to use music to get your Alzheimer’s patient moving.
The Benefits of Music for Alzheimer’s Patients
Research suggests areas of the brain linked to musical memory are left relatively undamaged by Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, music allows Alzheimer’s patients to reconnect with memories, become engaged, and even communicate. This, in turn, can relieve stress and improve their quality of life. To learn more about the amazing power of music, watch Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory.
Tips to Use Music to Get Your Alzheimer’s Patient Moving
Uncover Their Favorites
Music that means something to a person often is the most powerful. So, start by talking to your patient’s family. Ask if there is a particular type of music, artist or band they enjoy. If this isn’t possible, do a little detective work. Experiment with different genres and see how your patient responds. Options may include:
- Big Band
- Heavy Metal
- Musical Theater
- New Age
- Rhythm & Blues
- TV/Movie Soundtracks
Set the Mood
Once you know what your patient likes, use their favorite upbeat music to get them moving. Or if you need to calm them down, try acoustic or relaxing versions of their favorite tracks. Finally, avoid music sources with commercials as these interruptions can confuse Alzheimer’s patients.
In one study, dementia patients who sang along with the music stimulated more regions of the brain than those who only listened. Therefore, if your patient is willing, invite them to belt out those lyrics. Well known songs, like Somewhere Over the Rainbow or Jingle Bells, are a good place to start.
Move to the Beat
Since many Alzheimer’s patients are sedentary, music can encourage physical activity. Certainly, dancing may not be possible for everyone. However, clapping, foot-tapping and/or swinging to the beat all help to improve motor functions.
As part of a group musical activity, Alzheimer’s patients could play along with simple percussion instruments like maracas. This is another wonderful way to get them to be more active and engaged. Small drum circles may be a fun option too.
Is Working with Alzheimer’s Patients Your Calling?
Anodyne is urgently hiring caregivers, home health aides (HHA), and certified nursing assistants (CNA) for positions throughout Eastern Massachusetts. We can match you with the right opportunities and the right patients. Plus, Anodyne offers flexible scheduling, a consistent income, and great benefits. Browse our available openings today!