As research into living with dementia increases, there is a growing understanding of the benefits of art therapy, including music, for dementia care. Art therapy includes any use of the arts, such as painting or singing, with dementia patients. Music has been particularly compelling, and more senior care programmes are including music therapy.
Music has the power to convey emotion, communicate powerful feelings, and even teach us about the world around us. It was through music that we learned our first words, and it’s no surprise that music can also help those who may have lost their words. Music has been shown to reach areas of the brain that other activities fail to for patients with dementia, and can even unlock memories. There have been cases where even patients with advanced dementia have been able to recall how to play or sing along to a favourite song.
This therapy is not only useful for kickstarting grey matter and slowing the cognitive decline from dementia, but also greatly enhances the quality of life for someone living with dementia. If you know someone with dementia, try to find somewhere they can enjoy music, like at a care home or community centre where performers put on sing-along activities specifically for dementia patients. You could also try playing favourite tunes at home – even if your loved one cannot express in words how the music makes them feel, they may certainly show it.