Music Therapy for Alzheimer’s Patients 

At first glance there would appear to be no obvious connection between music and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies and Alzheimer’s patients responding to songs prove there is a mental connection to music and the disease. Music therapy is used to treat a variety of ailments that people have. This form of therapy has been shown to be one non-medication method to help Alzheimer’s patients. Researchers are still seeking a cure to Alzheimer’s disease. Musical therapy is one discovery researchers have made that improves the quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients. It helps those who have this disease because music can assist in triggering brain activity, physical activity, and memories. 


Benefits of Music Therapy for Alzheimer’s Patients

  • Soothes Agitation
  • Causes Memories to Resurface
  • Engages Brain Activity
  • Improves Eating Habits
The benefits of musical therapy for Alzheimer’s patients appears to focus mainly on soothing those afflicted. Additionally, this form of therapy may help memory recollections, improve brain activity, and improve poor eating habits. Music may seem like something you would only use for entertainment or physical fitness training. However, music is very much a part of our lives in a memory based and mental response manner. 


Similarly to how babies may be soothed by lullabies, Alzheimer’s patients can be soothed by relaxing music. When your relative is feeling distressed, select mellow music for them to listen to. A relaxing song may help your loved one feel slightly more calm and distracted from their agitation. 


Music can sometimes trigger memories for your loved one. Make a list of the music your relative listened to from different eras or events in their lives. If music doesn’t improve memory recollections, it will still help to improve brain and physical activity for your loved one. Music is excellent at stirring up brain activity and making people want to do some light physical activity. These are two very good things for those with Alzheimer’s who need some brain boosting. It can be difficult for Alzheimer’s patients to get motivated to be regularly physically active. It makes it much easier for patients with this disease to do light physical activity while listening to music. 


Music may assist with improving the appetite and eating habits of someone with Alzheimer’s. Consistently play certain dining music when your loved one eats. This will remind them to eat. Perhaps select music that would have been something they would have heard often when they would go out to eat at their favorite restaurant. 


How to Properly Use Music Therapy for Alzheimer’s Patients


Music therapy is not the same for every Alzheimer’s patient. You will have to personalize the therapy for your loved one. You can speak to your loved one’s doctor about how to start creating a music related therapy plan for them. 


To figure out what your loved one will respond to, you will have to discern what their music tastes have been like in various stages of their lives. Typically people with Alzheimer’s will respond to music from when they were children and young adults. You can look through your relative’s music collection to see what kind of music preferences they have. You may also have to consider what kind of childhood songs your love one listened to. Childhood music will help them to get more engaged when the disease has progressed very far. Advanced Alzheimer’s patients need to have music therapy that is more focused on their earlier years.


Another aspect to using music therapy for your Alzheimer’s patients is that you have to be attentive. Be careful to understand what their likes and dislikes are. Sometimes Alzheimer’s patients can no longer voice a yes or no properly. Pay close attention to facial reactions from your relative when you put on music for them. If they look distressed or disinterested by the song, change the song to something different.


Ways to Apply Music Therapy for Those Living with Alzheimer’s Disease


  • Karaoke Time
  • Sing Along
  • Background Ambiance
  • Dining Music
  • Bedtime Music
  • Memory Time
  • Dance Time
There are a ways to apply therapeutic music for Alzheimer’s disease patients. Using music based therapy throughout the day will bring some structure for your loved one. You may want to have a playlist of songs for singing, dancing, dining, and sleep time. 


Karaoke with your loved one gets them engaged in what is going on around them. You and other family members should sing along with them as well. Karaoke may be a smart way to have younger relatives have some fun with your relative.


Selecting songs that can be comfortable background ambiance for your loved one is a good strategy to keep them comfortable. Ambiance songs additionally help them to be less prone to agitation. You can leave these background songs on while your loved one is relaxing. Ensure you know which songs they like the most for their ambiance. 


Playing certain songs for certain times of the day will help you develop a routine. You should select certain songs for bedtime and for dining time for your loved one. You could select a certain song for memory time and dance time. Select a song that encourages some memory recollection. The songs may not always work. It is well worth attempting to play regular songs, as it will help your loved one have a less interrupted day. You can plan a more evened out day for yourself too. The songs you select should be something that connects strongly to your loved one. The dance song you choose for someone with Alzheimer’s should be one that they enjoy dancing to. You could play them some newer dance songs as well. You and other family members may enjoy dancing with them to the latest songs. Dancing to music helps to get you and your loved one with Alzheimer’s doing some mild exercise. 


Music and Alzheimer’s may be an unlikely combination. With numerous studies from doctors and many Alzheimer’s patients having a better quality to their life when using music as a form of therapy, we can deduce that music and Alzheimer’s does have a connection. Music effects the brain. Alzheimer’s disease obviously also effects 


the brain. Music does the opposite of the destructive force that Alzheimer’s has on the human brain. Music improves brain functionality and can connect easily up to memories. Music is essentially a light remedy to Alzheimer’s. Music will improve the quality of their lives. It is not a cure for this disease. Favorite songs played for your Alzheimer’s patients will definitely help your loved one cope day to day more effectively with their disease. It is a great way for you and the rest of your family to connect with your loved one again. You can use karaoke games as a fun past time with them. Or you may just enjoy listening to music with them while you are both relaxing. Never underestimate the power of music. Music can help each and every one of us when we are in times of need. 


Did you know Ashley Manor Memory Care utilizes music therapy for residents at both Idaho and Colorado facilities?

Learn more about the techniques and therapies we use here at Ashley Manor.


Categories: Care Giving Tips.

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