How music can benefit Alzheimer’s patients

Music is such a powerful thing… just a few beats into your favourite song and it brings back beautiful memories. And now, according to a new study, listening to music can help reduce anxiety in Alzheimer’s patients.

The study out of Brown University involved 25,000 care home patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Half of them lived in care homes where the residents listened to playlists of their favourite music, while the other half lived in music-free care  homes.

It turned out that in care homes with music, Alzheimer’s patients were significantly less likely to need anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety drugs, compared to those who did not listen to music.

Plus, the music listeners were far less likely to act out with the kind of disruptive behaviour often associated with the disease (and that often supposedly warrants doping up the patients beyond all recognition).

What’s more, the music even helped patients with cases of HIGHLY advanced Alzheimer’s.

Now, the fact that music eased the participants’ anxiety and agitation doesn’t come as a big surprise to me – because previous studies have shown that music can do everything from improving sleep to reducing chronic pain to helping cancer patients heal .

But this news is “music” to my ears as far as Alzheimer’s is concerned – as anything that can calm and comfort someone in the late stages of the disease, while allowing them to still feel like themselves, is a blessing.

Luckily, the ability to appreciate music is something that sticks around long after Alzheimer’s robs you or a loved one of speech, memory, and independence.

That’s because sounds and rhythm are processed by the “motor center” of your brain, which isn’t compromised by Alzheimer’s.

If someone you love is struggling with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, you can access pretty much any type of music on your smartphone, tablet, or computer with the touch of a button.

Whether it’s swinging Big Band or jumpin’ jiving, nearly every song ever recorded is now at your fingertips!

There are free and low-cost internet services like Spotify or iTunes, but this may be the perfect excuse to get that old record player out and dust off some of those classic vinyl records.

And, by all means, get up and dance – because studies show that dancing protects against dementia.

Wishing you the best of health,

Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Editor
Nutrition & Healing

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Sources:

Listening to Favorite Music Helps Dementia Patients, newsmax.com/Health/Health-News/listening-favorite-music-dementia/2017/05/11/id/789497/

Personalized Music May Help Nursing Home Residents with Dementia, news.brown.edu/articles/2017/05/music

Alzheimer’s Disease and Music Therapy, alzfdn.org/EducationandCare/musictherapy.html

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