“Music to my Ears” for those facing Alzheimer’s disease

One of my old favorite songs As Time Goes By from Casablanca carries the phrase “You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh…” and it provokes the image of romance & drama with a huge impression.  When you think of your first record album, your first live concert, your first wedding dance, your favorite hymn, or the lullaby you sang to your child, all of these musical memories activate multiple regions of the brain involved with memory, emotion, and language processing.

For those challenged by Alzheimer’s disease, music can help improve memory recall as well as emotional well-being, and can make it easier to remember past experiences, improve mood, and maintain cognitive function. People with Alzheimer’s disease can benefit greatly through Music Therapy, improving communication, reducing anxiety, and increasing social interaction. Music therapy can be tailored to the specific needs and abilities of each person with Alzheimer’s disease, and it may help to slow the progression of the disease and improve quality of life. Music can provide a way for people with Alzheimer’s disease to connect with others and engage in singing or playing music with others – promoting social interaction and helping to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.

While you don’t need a professional musician to incorporate music therapy into the lives of your family and friends who may be struggling, formal intervention plans require a certified music therapist.  Often you can find them in hospitals, mental health centers, senior centers, nursing homes, hospice programs and more.. You can learn more HERE or find one near you with the American Music Therapy Association Online Directory here