The Benefits of Music for Dementia

Music makes up a large part of our identity and is powerfully linked with memory. The use of music in dementia care has surged in popularity in recent years and is now championed by healthcare services as a way of connecting with people living with dementia.

To help you understand the benefits of music for dementia and the ways it can be included in dementia care, the team at Bondcare has put together this article.

What Are the Benefits of Music for Dementia?

It is estimated that there are currently 850,000 people living with dementia across the UK. As a cure has not yet been discovered, it is important to find effective ways to manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Music is one of the most practical ways to achieve this and there are many benefits it offers to those living with dementia:

  • Music alleviates anxiety and agitation, offering a creative outlet to process emotions.
  • One of the most difficult elements of dementia is social isolation. Music and singing are inherently social activities and act as a useful tool in bringing people together.
  • Language and music use separate parts of the brain. Therefore, even if speech and language skills have deteriorated, music can still be used as a communication tool.
  • Those living with dementia will have different needs and abilities. Musical activities can be easily adjusted to suit varying levels of participation and ensure everyone is comfortable and included.
  • Musical memory is a form of implicit memory. It is unconscious and automatic, remaining even in the latter stages of a dementia diagnosis. There are famous examples of this: Tony Bennett and Glen Campbell are two singers who were able to perform in the late stages of their illnesses.
  • Music stimulates the senses, which can help when managing chronic pain. It also promotes relaxation and rhythmic breathing, which can be used to evoke a calmer response from the nervous system.

Ideas to Include Music in Care

There are many ways music can be incorporated into dementia care. One of the most popular methods is via a choir; this offers a regular social activity and promotes mental well-being. 

Additionally, musical instruments could be included. For those who’ve never played instruments before, this would provide a creative outlet and form a new memory. This would also prompt muscle memory recall for those who are experienced musicians.

Another way to include music in care is to make a personalised playlist; this would act as an auditory scrapbook. There are many memories you can associate with music – whether that be first dances, nursery rhymes or concerts enjoyed – and this is an easy way to encourage reminiscing. Having a music quiz would also evoke memory recall, as well as offer a chance for group collaboration.

How Does Music Impact Care?

The music we like is a good indication of who we are. It can help carers get to know their residents better and assist in forming a picture of the individual beyond their diagnosis. Music can also be used to transform daily routines and make them more upbeat, offering a morale boost to both residents and carers alike. It is a valuable way to facilitate quality time with both caregivers and family members, helping to form stronger relationships. 

Here at Bondcare, we understand the importance of using music to help connect with residents. We are dementia care specialists, with multiple homes across the country. Our compassionate teams take pride in providing dignified care for every individual and forming strong relationships with all our residents.

To find out more about any of our homes, contact our expert team today.