Home Care: How Music Therapy Helps Alzheimer’s and Dementia

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Music is a powerful tool. Research has shown music stimulates neurons that span the brain. Brain functions which have no obvious connection to each other are stimulated by music.

For people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, the effects of music therapy as a treatment possesses incredible proven potential and results. Even in the late stages of Alzheimer’s patients have shown amazing results of increased memory recall and cognitive brain function.

Music therapy can positively affect mood, assist in stress reduction, stimulate sedentary brain functions, and enhance motor functionality. This is also a therapy patients can practice in the comfort of their homes with the assistance of a senior home care service and certified music therapist.

Sound therapy is a well-established health profession which is backed up with many years of clinical research. It is implemented to treat a wide range of neurological conditions for patients of every age range. Every music therapist treating Alzheimer’s has completed an approved bachelor’s or master’s degree program, completed an approved six-month clinical internship, and passed the practitioner certification exam.

Much like doctors and lawyers, to maintain their license to practice music therapists must maintain their board certification through continuing education. Any music therapist who is practicing at, or being consulted by, a senior home care service or adult day care center in Atlanta, has obtained their license to practice as a therapist and to treat clients in the state of Georgia.

How Does it Work

Though there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s, the reason neurologic music therapy or sound therapy is so effective as a treatment for Alzheimer’s or dementia patients is because it taps into what makes a human a human.

Mankind has progressed as a species, in the main part, due to our ability to communicate through language. Music is a creative outlet of the brain’s categorical mapping of speech based rhythmic structures. The same specificity of diction in our communication gives rise to music as a mastery of the articulations of sound. Since the roots of what we have defined as music are in verbally-based communication, the brain is wired to respond on a subconscious level to sound waves and beat patterns.

Therapy sessions and the songs or music played vary on account of the therapist and needs of the individuals. Most therapies combine the use of familiar music and specifically structured harmonic sound treatments along with symbiotic exercises and practice.

Brain responses, which are based on rhythm, do not require conscious mental processing ability to respond. The brain responds to music and all other rhythmically-based cues from the motor center which responds directly and automatically, like breathing.

Late stage Alzheimer’s patients who are suffering from severe memory loss have been known to sing along to a song that they have known for many years without the disease interfering.

The vast goal of music therapy is on strengthening the cognitive recall and memory-based brain functions in patients through bypassing the impaired cognitive functions altogether and using the rhythm-based recall ability to improve the overall brain functionality.

How to Find a Practitioner

There are music therapy practices in every state and all major cities across the country. Many sources exist on the Internet to discern between treatment centers you might be looking at.

Another good resource is a local university or psychiatrist’s office. If you want a human recommendation, one can often find resources in those places to assist. The most direct contact may be from a senior care facility, adult day care center, or senior home care service.

A senior home care service in Atlanta will likely be able to refer a therapist in-house or a consultant whom they use frequently. Since music therapy is a treatment for a wide range of medical applications, there are many independent clinics which specialize in music therapy. In Atlanta, here are some below:

To seek advice on the right music therapist for you in the Atlanta area, contact Skylark Senior Care and talk to a representative who can assist you with a recommendation. Skylark Home Care offers an in-home patient care service and in conjunction with a certified music therapy treatment which can help improve you or your loved one’s quality of life.

Skylark Home Care

(678) 646-0600
4265 Johns Creek Parkway, Suite B
Johns Creek, GA 30024
Home Service Areas in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area

Clinical Research and Findings

In a study, published in 2006 by the Juntendo University School of Medicine, the results showed music therapy can be used to target and lower blood pressure. In another group, focusing on people with dementia, music therapy significantly decreased depressive tendencies in patients and yet another found positive data showing singing has an immediate effect on recall abilities in later stages of dementia. This is just one of the many examples of clinical data proving the practical viability of music therapy for Alzheimer’s patients.

In 2000, a study was published in the Journal of Music Therapy which examined the effects of how music therapy and language interact. The study comprised 26 Alzheimer’s patients from a Senior Memory Care Facility which specializes in Alzheimer’s disease. Participants were put into one of two groups: either a music therapy group or a discussion group. Conversations were stimulated through pictures and authors affirmed the validity of music therapy as an effective treatment for speech content and fluency in Alzheimer’s patients.

The American Music Therapy Association, states, “Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music intervention to accomplish individual goals within a therapeutic relationship…”

The organization also states music therapy can assist in the treatment of many issues. It promotes wellness and can help to manage stress, alleviate pain, express feelings, enhance memory, improve language and communication, and promote physical rehabilitation.

Let us know in the comments if you have used music therapy treatment and seen the same results.

One thought on “Home Care: How Music Therapy Helps Alzheimer’s and Dementia”

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