- Alzheimer’s disease leads to dysfunctions in neural connections.
- It has consequences on cognitive functions, such as learning, memory or attention.
More than 35 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s disease. According to the World Health Organization, the number of sick people is expected to double every 20 years. Today, no treatment can cure it, but they do limit the impact of the symptoms. In everyday life, small gestures can make life easier for sick people, such as listening to music. This is recommended by the Mayo Clinic, an American research center, in a text published on its site.
Music, a way to help Alzheimer’s patients and those around them
“Musical memories are often preserved in Alzheimer’s disease because key areas of the brain related to musical memory are not affected by the disease.“, specifies the organization in a press release. Scientific research has shown that listening to music or singing is beneficial from an emotional and/or behavioral point of view. But it is also of interest to those around people with illnesses, whether they are caregivers or caregivers Music can reduce “anxiety and distress, easing moods and providing a way to connect with loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease, especially those who have difficulty communicating“.
Dementia: how to use music to help the sick?
Mayo Clinic specialists give six tips for making the most of music in this context. In the first place, the tastes and preferences of the person must be taken into account, but also the memories associated with this music. The ideal is to find titles that recall happy times. “Get your family and friends involved by asking them to suggest songs or create playlists“, they suggest.
Then the music can be used at different times. This can be an activity in itself, in which case overstimulation should be avoided: it is important to limit all other noises, such as television for example. The volume of the sound should be adapted to the hearing health of the sick person. “Choose music that isn’t interrupted by commercials, which can be confusing.”adds the Mayo Clinic.
These specialists also suggest taking advantage of this moment to encourage the person to move: this can be clapping, stamping your feet to the rhythm or even dancing. His fourth tip is to sing.
Singing helps to create a better environment, but it also helps to develop the relationship. “Some studies also suggest that musical memory works differently from other types of memory, and singing can help stimulate unique memories.“, they pose.
They recommend paying attention to the person’s reactions: if certain songs seem to be appreciated, then they should be listened to often, and vice versa, if the person does not like certain songs, it is better to change the record.
His last piece of advice is to use music to set the mood in everyday life. This can help calm the person down during less pleasant times, like a skincare routine, for example. “When you want to lift your loved one’s mood, use upbeat or faster music.”, they point out These different examples are proof that music therapy can be implemented through simple actions to make the day-to-day life of sick people and their environment as light as possible.