Music and Dementia | How Does Music Help Those Living With Dementia?

listening to music

Music and Dementia | How Does Music Help Those Living With Dementia?

Music and Dementia | How Does Music Help Those Living With Dementia? 830 460 picpr-hannah

What’s the connection between music and dementia?

Music is a tried, tested, and trusted way to help soothe dementia patients. It can spark memories and feelings of joy while helping to reduce signs of agitation or worry.

There are many wonderful stories of those who’ve long forgotten their loved ones, suddenly able to remember the words to a favourite song or the routine to an old dance.

In this blog, we’re sharing how music can be a valuable tool when it comes to supporting those living with dementia:

musical notes

How Does Music and Dementia Affect the Brain?

Many people have a special connection to music, but it can be a particularly powerful instrument for individuals living with dementia.

Music possesses a remarkable capability to evoke memories, and listening to a favourite song can help you connect with fond reminders of your past.

It can have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing — for example, happy songs release endorphins, helping to reduce feelings of depression, anxiety, and agitation.

Music can also have a considerable effect on mental health, leading to:

  • Improved attention and concentration;
  • Enhanced cognitive abilities;
  • Boosted memory;
  • Speech and non-verbal communication skills.
listening to music

How Does Music and Dementia Affect the Body?

As well as having a positive impact on the mind, music can also have a profound effect on the body.

Research has found that listening to music can reduce both heart rate and blood pressure while relieving muscle tension and alleviating pain.

For those living with dementia, this improved state can help to lessen the strain on their bodies, leading to improved wellbeing.

Also, engaging with rhythmic music through singing or dancing can stimulate motor function and coordination, enhancing physical mobility as well as dexterity in individuals — which, in turn, can increase their independence and ability to perform everyday tasks.


Bolstering Social Connections | People Living with Dementia 

Listening to or engaging in a musical activity, such as singing, dancing, or playing an instrument, can encourage socialisation — something we regularly see among our residents.

Music holds the power to positively influence behaviour, and allow outlets for those living with dementia to express their emotions and lose themselves in the rhythm.

In the later stages of dementia, verbal communication can become increasingly more challenging, but individuals may still be able to enjoy tapping along to a beat or singing classic songs with their peers.


Music and Culture | People Living with Dementia 

Different cultures have distinct musical traditions, particular songs and rhythms that help to bring communities together.

For older adults living with dementia, music associated with their social background and younger years can evoke strong memories and emotions, establishing a sense of familiarity and belonging.

At Macc Care, we recognise and respect the diverse cultures and backgrounds of our residents, and provide person-centred care through inclusivity and offering a variety of cultural music options and festivities. 

Recently, we commemorated Diwali and Christmas, encouraging other residents to take part in understanding diverse cultural celebrations and providing an environment where everybody feels valued and respected.


Helpful Tips For Mixing Music and Dementia

When it comes to supporting someone with dementia, music can be a powerful tool in conveying emotions that become difficult to express.

You can use the music to create a mood, such as soothing melodies for a calming atmosphere or upbeat songs for excitement.

It’s important to let individuals choose how they want to interact with the music, but you could help them by encouraging small movements, such as clapping or foot tapping. You could also introduce simple instruments such as tambourines, triangles, or maracas. 

Keep the volume at a comfortable level to avoid overstimulation, and follow your loved one’s cues as to when they’ve had enough (or want to ramp it up!).

musical instruments

How We Incorporate Music at Macc Care 

At Macc Care, we look to incorporate music, singing, and dancing into our regular care home activities.

Our hardworking team receive expert training to deliver quality and compassionate care — building and maintaining trusting relationships with residents.

Regular activities at the home include listening to music during seasonal celebrations, as well as daily activities, entertainment shows, and performances for our residents.

If you’d like to find out more about how we bolster our care through the therapeutic pairing of music and dementia, please contact a member of our team today.
Alternatively, why not check out our recent blog and discover how painting can positively impact your mental health?