It’s estimated that more than 35 million people suffer from dementia worldwide, and this number is set to increase as we all become older. Whilst researchers are working hard to prevent the onset of dementia, there is also an increasing number of therapies that have been found that may help to manage the symptoms of this condition.
Memory loss, confusion and problems with language and abstract thinking are all symptoms of dementia, many of them very subtle and not immediately obvious. However, one of the therapies that has shown great promise in helping sufferers of dementia to feel calmer and happier in their daily lives, is music.
How does music help dementia sufferers?
First of all, music is a medium that connects many people together. It has been shown that music can help dementia sufferers, who cannot speak clearly, to connect with their loved ones, by humming or playing along to the music. Just listening to music can help these people recollect some of their happy memories, calm aggressive tendencies and interact more with their family and friends.
There has been a lot of research into why music affects us on an emotional level, which is particularly relevant for people with dementia. It appears that music reaches parts of the brain that are not affected by dementia, which is why it can help them to recollect certain memories. In fact, even unfamiliar music can evoke a positive response, because it’s not attached to any negative experiences.
Music therapy has also been shown to help dementia sufferers to feel a sense of control over their lives, improve motor coordination and stimulate positive interactions with their care givers and relatives. Other therapies, such as painting, gardening, interactive games and cooking, can be used alongside music therapy to create a relaxing and calming environment for dementia sufferers. It’s wonderful to know that music can help improve the quality of life for people who suffer from dementia.