Music can be a powerful source of joy and comfort for people with dementia and for those around them. When words fail, music provides a way for the person with dementia to connect with others and engage with memories and emotions.
Even for people with severe dementia, music can tap deep emotional recall. Favourite songs associated with important personal events can trigger not only the memory of lyrics, but also the emotional experience connected to the music.
Music can improve quality of life by enabling the listener to reconnect, regain social skills and live more fully.
Research is confirming the way that music, especially familiar songs, seems to stimulate regions of memory and emotion that may otherwise be completely inaccessible to people with Alzheimer’s.
Our brains are hard-wired to connect music with long-term memory. Music awakens a part of the brain not impacted by dementia and evokes responses, such as singing and movement, and moments of re-connection with loved ones.
By listening to the music they love, a previously unresponsive or agitated person can feel calmer or more joyful.