The Influence of Music in Memory Care

Posted By on March 8, 2020

Memory care communities specialize in the care and well-being of those dealing with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. One tool that is commonly used in memory care communities is music. Music can help those with dementia access memories, enhance emotions, and create positive experiences.

Our memories work in an odd way. Current research suggests that even with Alzheimer’s disease, musical memory is preserved and capable of bringing a surge of memories back to a resident with dementia. 

HarborChase Senior Living understands the importance of music in the lives of those with memory impairments. For this reason, our memory care neighborhoods, The Cove and The Sound, feature programs and activities that heavily incorporate music. Music in memory care can lead to moments of connection and bonding between residents and caregivers. 

Why is Music So Important?

Whether it’s the enjoyment of listening to it or the act of creating it, music is something that finds a recurring role throughout our lives. Music is academic; it is physical, emotional, and personal. When we listen to music, our brain “lights up,” not only in the auditory areas but in the motor (movement) and limbic (emotions) areas as well.

Music is one of the most influential art forms that soothes and moves people on any given day. Studies suggest that music can have a variety of health benefits, including being able to:

But, the most powerful benefit of music is that it can possibly improve cognition. In one clinical trial, adults with subjective cognitive impairment who listened to only 12 minutes of music every day for 12 weeks showed improvements in memory, mood, sleep, and executive cognitive function.

Music and Memory Care

While we have known for some time that music uniquely affects our brain, we are only now discovering its lasting effects on our memory. Research found that one of the benefits for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia is increased functional connectivity, or improved brain function, after listening to the participant’s favored music. Due to this, many memory care communities will work with a senior and their family to create a personalized music playlist that will stimulate positive feelings and memories.

Furthermore, residents living in a memory care neighborhood with individualized music programs have shown positive outcomes such as a reduction in certain medication use, and BPSD symptoms (Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia).

For those in the more advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease or any form of dementia, music has shown to have physical benefits such as improving swallowing and eating habits. While older adults with memory loss who rarely communicate verbally may be moved to sing along with a favorite song from their childhood, which can build a connection between a senior with dementia and their caregivers or family members

With music being so prevalent in our lives, HarborChase Senior Living recognizes and understands the benefits for our memory care residents. Our memory care neighborhoods host support sessions involving musical instruments, songs, songwriting, and musical affirmations that foster creativity, improve range of motion, eye/hand coordination, and mood. These sessions also promote socialization, as well as stimulate memories for residents.

HarborChase Senior Living offers two types of specialized memory care neighborhoods:

  • The Cove – Professional care and attention for those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
  • The Sound – Professional care and attention for those with mild dementia or memory loss.

Each level of care uses an innovative approach that promotes a comfortable and safe environment featuring energizing classes, personalized attention, guided fitness classes, social events, and enriching programs.

For more information regarding the memory care services offered at HarborChase Senior Living communities, we encourage you to contact our memory care team.

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