Recent scientific studies have proven that music therapy has beneficial effects on the brain, and can be used to treat conditions such as mood disorders, and help patients going through stroke recovery. Furthermore, neurologists and other specialists in this field have only recently begun to comprehend how music therapy affects the brain. What they found was that our brain patterns change radically while we are listening to music. Brain scans show that apart from stimulating regions of the brain in charge of processing sound, there was a significant increase in brain activity in parts responsible for emotion, reasoning, language and memory.
Practiced caregivers providing home care in Pacific Palisades also report that their patients, especially those recovering from Alzheimer’s and dementia, enjoy listening to music on a daily basis. This routine has evolved into their therapy, and one that was not strictly prescribed by doctors but rather a spontaneous, self-prescribed one. And according to the caregivers, music not only has a calming but an evident therapeutic effect on their patients.
Music Therapies in In-Home Care
Experienced caregivers organize music therapies as a part of the home care routine to stimulate their patients’ memories and emotions the music evokes. Depending on the age of the patient, various music genres may be the key to unlocking the full potential of this rather unorthodox therapy. Music leaves a lasting impression and is connected to the emotions we experience when we listen to it. That is why, as you get older, music can help bring back those emotions and all the memories tied to it.
Sharing their memories over music can help patients step out of the reclusion associated with the Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Music can be used with elders to increase their levels of emotional, mental and social functions. It can be used to maintain or improve their quality of life.
Music as a Form of Expression
Although this therapy can be applied to people of all ages, it is especially beneficial for seniors suffering from dementia as music may be the only way they can communicate their emotions and intentions without a verbal aspect. As dementia progresses, elders experience troubles expressing themselves and can be difficult to understand. Singing can help them express their emotions and stimulate their creativity, which was also proven to be highly therapeutic in patients suffering from these conditions. Furthermore, some researchers believe that music can be used to prevent dementia, as it can keep their memory centers from decaying.
Physical Benefits of Music Therapy
Apart from the mental, there’s also an obvious physical side to music therapy. Dancing to the favorite tunes of their youth can help otherwise static elders get the exercise they need. Elders who exercise regularly have better physical functions and stay healthier. Naturally, there are some disabilities which may prevent a patient from dancing, but some functions that have been lost because of inactivity can be restored through this method. A good caregiver knows that the tempo, direction and rhythm of the music are important aspects of these music exercise routines.