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Music & Dementia

At Our Place Day Respite Center, we love to play host to a variety of entertainers. While we love and appreciate all who dedicate their time, there is a special place in our hearts for those who come in to play an instrument or sing a tune for our Friends.

On these respite days, you can find some of our Friends tapping their feet to the beat, some mouthing the lyrics, and you might even see them jump up and dance. The impact of a familiar tune is unmeasurable. We have experienced some individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, who do not speak otherwise, sing along with a hymn or familiar song and not miss a beat.

This response, seen by many who love and care for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, has prompted a response from the scientific community. Scientists at Yale University and Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center (just to name a few) have conducted research regarding the relationship between the parts of the mind Alzheimer's disease affects and the reaction to music. Some of these studies have shown that “simply listening to music can improve a patient’s mood and ability to recall autobiographical memories (The Power of Music in Alzheimer’s disease).”

On days when your loved one is feeling down, try soothing them with a familiar song. Music can heal so many emotional aliments. While there is much more to be determined about the connection, one thing is for sure, music can awaken even the oldest of memories tucked deep away and bring back a familiar light.

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