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Art and Music Therapy Prompt Connections for Alzheimer’s Patients

By HERWriter
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Art and Music Therapy: Connections for Alzheimer’s Patients Auremar/PhotoSpin

The painting should be complete when the artist says it is done. More than one session may be needed to finish a project.

Music Therapy

Music is known to have a strong impact on emotions. For people with Alzheimer’s disease, music therapy can help trigger memories associated with a particular song.

Music therapy can also encourage participation in physical activity and help maintain focus during activities such as eating.

Music therapy is an established health profession. Certified music therapists use creating music, singing, moving to music and listening to music to accomplish specific goals in a treatment plan to help with the emotional, cognitive and social needs of their patients.

People in all stages of Alzheimer’s disease are often able to respond to music, tap a beat and even sing the lyrics to songs from their childhood.

Music therapy can soothe agitation, spark memories and prompt the person with Alzheimer's to engage in activities such as eating or walking to the bathroom.

Different types of music can produce very different responses:

Calming songs such as lullabies with simple melodies and little rhythmic stimulation can help encourage relaxation leading up to bedtime. These songs can also calm agitation, frustration and fearfulness.

Rhythmic songs and dance tunes can help encourage physical activity such as toe-tapping and dancing.

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Songs from childhood or young adulthood are most likely to spark memories, especially for patients in more advanced stages of the disease. Patients who have difficulty speaking may still remember and sing along with songs they learned as children.

Remember that songs can have very specific meanings or memories for each person. So a song that may seem happy could be connected with a sad memory. Pay close attention to visual clues such as facial expressions to determine if the song is a good choice or not.

People with Alzheimer’s disease may experience sensory overload listening to music.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Alzheimer's Disease

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