Music is a powerful tool for assisting individuals in the early and late stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Music engages the elderly and helps them remember the people and moments in their lives that matter most. Windsor Senior Living is proud to announce the creation and implementation of our new Music and Me program, designed with our memory care residents in mind. Read on to learn the reasons why music as a therapeutic tool is so effective and the ways in which this tailored music program will enrich the lives of our residents.
How Can Music Help?
The latest research from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America shows that music therapy has promise for people receiving Alzheimer’s care and treatment. Music can shift a person’s mood, alleviate stress and depression, stimulate cognitive function, and improve motor movements.
The motor center of the brain, the region that directly correlates to music, requires little or no cognitive processing. This brain area remains largely unscathed even into the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, meaning that seniors who are no longer able to speak, move, or remember details of their lives will remember their favorite songs and tap their toes to the beat.
Alzheimer’s treatment programs that incorporate music therapy have successfully helped non-verbal participants sing the lyrics to songs and helped seniors with dementia remember long-lost memories. Music treatment in Alzheimer care homes has also helped improve camaraderie and friendship among residents, resident-staff relations, and the relationships between residents and their loved ones. Finally, because music can enliven the spirits and boost a person’s mood, Alzheimer’s care residents feel better about themselves, are happier and calmer, and more outgoing.
Music and Me Program at Windsor Senior Living
The new Music and Me program at Windsor Senior Living launched September 1, 2016. In the weeks leading up to the launch, we had been studying our dementia care residents to ascertain their preferences and identify their personal obstacles, all in an effort to develop a tailored music program that will maximize the benefit and experience for everyone involved. Music and Me will be open solely to residents of our memory care program at first, but will soon be available to other residents as the program will benefit those in all stages of cognitive/memory impairment (including initial and undetectable stages).
According to Gary Allinger, Executive Director, “The growth and improvements seen in residents who participate in this type of program is plentiful. In my career, I have seen some memory care residents who haven’t spoken or verbally communicated in several months to a couple of years, start singing to others as they listen to their individually tailored programs.” He has often witnessed program participants moving their feet, tapping their legs, and bobbing their heads to the beat of the music – which is an incredible moment as they are engaged, connecting, processing, and reacting to an external stimulant. This involves many skills that are otherwise compromised in the disease process.
Like many of our other Windsor activities, Music and Me meets weekly for optimal benefit to our residents. If needed, Music and Me is also provided daily to those residents that benefit most from the program. In these sessions we play many types of music, including dance tunes that residents enjoyed in their younger years; famous show tunes; and simple songs that are often accompanied by body movements, like “itsy bitsy spider” and “hokey pokey.” We encourage participants to sing along, tap their feet, clap their hands, sway their bodies, and dance if possible. Residents can benefit further by listening to music on iPods or by tuning to a radio station that plays their preferred music genre. In addition, specific playlists have been compiled around each individual resident’s listening habits to fight anxiety and sadness.
Music soothes the soul, and for our memory care residents, it can improve their health and restore the part of themselves lost to Alzheimer’s and dementia. It unites our residents in one common goal and helps them regain some control over their lives.
If you’re interested in learning more about memory care or assisted living at Windsor Senior Living, or you would like to schedule a tour, please contact us today to discuss the best solutions for you and your loved one.
Read more in On Aging