Music and memory therapy, for dementia patients, is an effective form of therapy due to its many positive effects. Its impact on the brain is of particular note, as it can help stimulate the brain to help bring about many helpful changes.

Many researchers in the field have also expressed the benefits of music and memory therapy, so here are a few reasons why this type of therapy is great for those with dementia.

It can bring back old memories

Music has the powerful ability to tap into a variety of emotions, and this also applies to those affected by Alzheimer’s.

The late famous British Neurologist, Oliver Sacks, said “Music evokes emotion, and emotion can bring with it memory… it brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.”

These emotions are typically linked with fond memories of the past. By allowing these positive emotions to surface, these memories can be recalled, which can prove hugely beneficial to dementia patients.

There is also evidence that by using music alongside daily activities, it can become easier to develop a rhythm in enacting them, which over time can improve cognitive ability.

Singing along to music can boost brain activity

Back in 2013, a US-based study found that singing along to music in the form of group sessions can improve the cognitive abilities of those with dementia.

Lead author Linda Maguire, alongside a number of other scientists, undertook their study while working in a care home over a four-month period.

They monitored two groups; one that was encouraged to take part in singing as a group, while the other was encouraged to only listen.

By monitoring the patient’s cognitive ability and life satisfaction through various tests, Maguire discovered that the group who sang along to the music compared to the group that only listened scored significantly higher.

“Even when people are in the fairly advanced stages of dementia, when it is so advanced they are in a secure ward, singing sessions were still helpful. The message is: don't give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging”, said Dr Jane Flinn, who presented the findings in San Diego.

Music can promote physical and emotional closeness

Those in the later stages of dementia often lose the ability to share emotions with others. Music, however, can promote dance.

Dancing can be a great way to promote emotional closeness, and from the physical side of things, it can lead to things such as hugs, kisses, which can bring security to not only the person with dementia, but others as well.

It can help combat stress

Music and memory therapy have also been shown to combat stress, as well as promote a positive mood.

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America says that “When used appropriately, music can shift mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function and coordinate motor movements.”

This is because music and singing require little mental processing, which is great for those with dementia as mental processing Is often difficult for those with the condition.