One uniquely phenomenal trait in homo-sapiens is the ability to create, and interpret, music. Science suggests evidence of the very earliest humans using music, and today it is at the core of our species’ global communication. So we wanted to know – how can music help people with dementia?
How music affects us.
Music actually affects you in a physiological way – from the rhythm that your heart will literally begin to sync to. The emotional layer of listening to music comes from the tone. Have you ever noticed when listening to music in a foreign language that you can still interpret the singer’s feelings? That’s because our brains can pick out the tones and understand them – hence the phrase music is an international language. This is particularly important for someone with dementia who may be struggling with ordinary verbal communication.
Music as a mood-booster.
So if listening to music can affect your heart rate, it must have some compelling uses for managing a state of stress. For example, a piece of soothing classical music could bring a heart rate down and deliver calmness to the very core of the body. Alternatively, upbeat pop music could help to wake the senses and get you excited and positive. Athletes have been manipulated this method for ages, with favourite motivational songs to get in the zone. So next time the senior you care for is having a difficult time and feeling frustrated, angry, or sad, try playing music for them that will help to calm or enhance their mood.