Health and Wellness |

Music, movement and Dementia

June 22, 2020
lady listening to music on an old music player

Music has the power to evoke an emotional response in almost anybody. Just as babies love to move their bodies to catchy children’s music, adults bopping away to hit music whilst driving; music therapy is frequently used to improve cognitive connections in older people and persons with dementia.

The music awakens a part of the brain not impacted by dementia and evokes responses, such as singing and movement, and the opportunity for a possible moment of reconnection with loved ones [1].

“One does not have to be especially musical to respond to music, to recognise music, or to react to music emotionally,” shares the late neuroscience legend Dr. Oliver Sacks. “Virtually everyone does, and they will continue to do so with dementia.”

Anecdotally, the positive effects of music are endless. Stories of improved mood, reduced anxiety, subsequent medication reduction and deep connections abound. “Changes in mood that can last several hours and alertness immediately following [a listening session] can generally last around 20 minutes, but everyone is different and responds differently.” Said Dr Maggie Haertsch, CEO of the Arts Health Institute.

Be’s Ageless Grace sessions are one of our most popular group social activities and offer clients a long list of positive mental and physical benefits. And whilst our social events are currently paused due to coronavirus, Jane from our North Brisbane team has been bringing live video sessions weekly via Facebook.

Ageless Grace uses music and movement with 21 simple exercises based on the science of neuroplasticity working all parts of the body and brain in ways that help develop, maintain or regenerate our functionality.

Dementia Australia has shared some tips and advice for people living with dementia during coronavirus and the change to everyday life:

Stay connected: Even though we are physically distancing, we can still stay in touch with friends and family using technology, phone calls and good old-fashioned letter writing.

Look after yourself: keep up hygiene practices with hand washing and regularly wiping down services. Make time in your day to do some gentle exercise. Speak up if you need help- chat to a neighbour, family or care provider if you are finding things difficult during this time.

Fighting boredom: There’s a range of ways to keep your mind active. Break up your day and change activities every one or two hours. Go for a walk outside or spend time in the garden. Read, listen to music, watch television and movies. Crafts, like knitting, and puzzles are great for keeping the brain active.

If you or a loved one are living with dementia and need more support, we provide specialist care for dementia as part of our home care packages. Speak to our friendly team today about a home care package to suit your needs.


Dementia Australia: The power of music in memories

[1] SBS: Music awakens memory in those with dementia

[2] Dementia Australia: Tips for People Living with Dementia

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