Currently in America there are over 5 million people being affected by Alzheimer’s. As this dreaded disease progresses, we as caregivers will notice that it gets harder and harder to reach and engage with our loved one. We’ll also notice our loved one become more agitated when they are frustrated or are unable to express themselves. Agitation can also be a response to your loved one’s inability to handle stimulation around them.
According to the Mayo Clinic, new research suggests listening to music can help our loved ones who have Alzheimer’s. Music’s greatest asset is its ability to improve behavioral issues. The reason it can be effective while your loved one continues to lose cognitive functioning is because music is processed with every part of the brain. In fact, involvement with rhythm requires very little cognitive ability so your loved one will respond even in the later stages of Alzheimer’s.
Start out by making a music playlist. Stick to the type and style of music your loved one used to listen to and is familiar with. Better yet, if you know any specific pieces or tunes they enjoyed, use them. If you know what was popular in your loved one’s young adult years, go with those too. If your loved one is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, try folk songs and music from their childhood. Pay really close attention to how your loved one responds to the different pieces. If they grimace or become agitated, remove that selection from your playlist.
Match the type of music to the response you’re looking for. If you want to calm your loved one during a mealtime or when getting ready for bed, choose soothing music. Something with a slow tempo and little percussion would be a good idea. If you are trying to stimulate you loved one to move more try using music with a quicker tempo and some percussion. You can encourage movement by suggesting your loved one claps to the music or taps their feet. If your loved one seems to get agitated at the same time every day, try playing soothing music just a bit earlier – it may help ward off the agitation.
Have you ever used music to help your loved one get through the day? What worked for you? Please share below and visit us at http://trilliumhomecare.com