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    Music and memory care: Loved ones can still feel the beat

    submitted by Julianne Hart, The Birches at Newtown Personal Care and Memory Care, www.thebirchesatnewtown.com

    When you hear your favorite song, what do you do? You might sing, move to the rhythm, or reminisce about the good ol’ days.

    Music has immense power over brain function. Studies have shown older adults living with Alzheimer’s disease are able to process music.

    Despite the changes caused by the disease, they can still feel the beat. Musical aptitude and appreciation are some of the last cognitive abilities to decline for those living with Alzheimer’s disease.

    This is why music therapy is a useful tool in the treatment of memory care and your loved one’s overall wellness. Music can bring moments of joy, familiarity and engagement—becoming a bridge of communication to your loved one.

    There are plenty more benefits to using music in memory care because it promotes:

    • Socialization;
    • Positive expression of emotions;
    • Memory recollection;
    • Interest and focus;
    • Movement.

    Music may not be the cure, but it’s something miraculous. Through music, you can have the chance to dance with your Dad or hear your Mom sing again.

    Music can also help with pain management and discomfort. Soothing tunes invoke relaxation, whereas upbeat tunes ease fatigue and motivate exercise.

    Most memory care communities incorporate a mixture of music therapy programs, weekly sing-a-longs and live performances. You can request a monthly calendar of events from the activities director.

    As Alzheimer’s disease progresses and communication diminishes, you often long for the person you once knew. Music offers that reconnection and listening together can be a valuable bonding experience.

    For your next visit, bring along your smartphone or other listening device and a pair of headphones. Tablets and smartphones can download music-streaming apps, like Spotify or Pandora.

    Create a playlist of your loved one’s favorite songs. Choosing music from childhood, early adulthood or happy occasions work best.

    Press play and feel the beat together!