Here at Landmark Memory Care, we are enthusiastic about providing the best living standards for those in our community experiencing memory loss. Being able to communicate effectively with community members is one of the most important parts of the care we provide, and one of the ways we do this, is through music.

As Alzheimer’s and other related dementias progress, while other memories fade, a person’s ability to engage in music, particularly rhythm playing and singing, remains intact late into the disease process. That is why a quality care plan will always include music. Here are some of the theories as to why music reaches those who would otherwise be unreachable, the effects music can have on them, and how we can use music to reach those with memory loss.

How music is stored in the brain during memory loss

The brain is probably one of the least well understood organs in our bodies. We know that some of the changes seen in Alzheimer’s patients is caused by plaques and tangles in the brain that compromise the ability of neurons to communicate with each other, and we have lots of evidence that music is stored in the brain during memory loss, even while other memories are receding.

Researchers in 2012 discovered that “listening to music activates wide networks in the brain, including areas responsible for motor actions, emotions, and creativity” (Psychology Today). If you’ve ever listened to a song and felt transported to a past place in time and possibly even felt the same emotions you did then, you’ve experienced how music is connected to your memories. One of the theories as to why music can be used to reach people include the idea that because music spans so many different regions, it can reach around those problem areas in the brain that stop neurons from talking to each other.

Positive effects of music on memory care patients

So how does listening to music actually affect patients? A great documentary Alive Inside, shows some of the impacts of music on memory care patients during hospice care.

A study in 2014 found “…songs from the participants’ past-elicited memories, especially songs related to their social and national identity. Analyses also indicated that conversation related to the singing was extensive and the act of group singing encouraged spontaneous responses. After singing, group members expressed positive feelings, a sense of accomplishment, and belonging.”(PubMed)

Music can shift mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function, and coordinate motor movements. These positive effects all create a happier, calmer atmosphere, which assist in improving the quality of life of senior adults experiencing memory loss.

Integrating music into later life

At Landmark, integrating music into your loved one’s later life is part of our mission. We create personalized playlists on iPods and other MP3 devices for our community members. Listening to their favorite songs and artists allows music to tap into happy, comforting memories and reconnect with times and places that are otherwise lost.

At Landmark Memory Care, we honor seniors by providing a home where they are part of our family, where they know they are loved, and where they continue to flourish with respect and dignity. We look for ways like music and song to connect with loved ones, knowing that putting a smile on their face will put one one on their family members faces as well. also. If you would like more information about music at Landmark memory care, or want to check availability, please contact us today.